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Currently, the two-dimensional mammogram is the standard breast scan available on the NHS in the UK and although very safe and considered effective for detecting early signs of cancer, it does have some limitations. 3D mammograms represent a new approach to breast cancer diagnosis, with the potential for picking up more cancers than traditional mammograms. We are delighted to offer 3D mammograms at Thames Breast Clinic.
A conventional mammogram produces a two-dimensional image of the breast from two separate X-rays, one from the front and one from the sides, whereas a three-dimensional mammogram takes several low-dose images from different angles and compiles these images into a 3D-like rendering of the breast.
Also known as digital breast tomosynthesis, there have been several studies that have proven that 3D mammograms find more cancers, particularly in women with denser breast tissue, and also reduces the number of false positives.
In some ways, a false positive is good news, in that the abnormal lump that’s been detected is found not to be cancer. However, it does mean a lot of unnecessary stress and upset for the patient, as well as follow-ups, extra tests and even further procedures such as a biopsy.
The 3D mammogram procedure is very similar to conventional mammography; your breasts are placed between two plates and compressed. Then, the X-ray arm will move over the breast in an arc, taking several images of the breast from different angles.
The scan takes the same amount of time as a conventional mammogram and you can return home immediately afterwards. The image produced will provide the radiologist with more valuable information when reviewing your case.
Offering women a range of breast screening options is important. Breast cancer is less common at age 40 than 50 plus and, after menopause, the tumour typically grows slower and breast tissue is less dense, making it easier for 2D mammograms to detect.
If you’d like to organise a 3D mammogram at Thames Breast Clinic, call us on 0800 612 9490 or fill in the contact form and one of our team will be in touch.