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What’s a 3D mammogram?

Who needs this multi-layered approach to breast health and why.

Article Author: Juice Staff

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2D and 3D mammogram respresented with cake

We know getting a mammogram isn’t always a piece of cake, but annual screenings are an important part of a woman’s self-care.

Yearly screening mammograms are the best tool we have for the early detection of breast cancer,” said Baptist Health diagnostic radiologist Amanda Kent, DO. “It’s the only test that has been proven to reduce breast cancer deaths by finding the disease when it’s small and easier to treat.”

2D vs. 3D mammograms

While traditional 2D mammograms show breast tissue in one flat image, 3D mammography, known as tomosynthesis, allows doctors to examine breast tissue layer by layer, as if you were slicing into a piece of cake.

“We now recommend women have 3D mammograms,” said Dr. Kent. “At Baptist Health facilities, we obtain a combination mammogram, which collects both 3D and 2D images at the same time, so we’re essentially getting our old-fashioned mammogram plus these bonus 3D images.”

They’re particularly effective for women with dense breast tissue because they can see past the dense tissue and spot hidden abnormalities like tumors. Using the cake analogy, Dr. Kent explained, “If you’re looking for a cherry in the cake, being able to examine it slice by slice makes finding it much easier.”

Learn more about the differences between 2D and 3D mammograms with a little help from this video, which uses the cake analogy to compare the two technologies.

Mammogram misconceptions

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about mammograms. One of the biggest is that they involve large doses of radiation.

“People are exposed to normal background radiation every day,” explained Dr. Kent. “A flight lasting 10 to 11 hours exposes you to roughly the same amount of radiation as a mammogram.”

Although mammograms are still the gold standard for breast cancer screening, like many things in life, they’re not perfect. Dr. Kent advised women to consult their primary care doctor or OB/GYN if they notice changes in their breasts or have any concerns.

Is it time to schedule your mammogram?

Baptist Health offers 3D screening mammography at all breast imaging locations. Schedule your mammogram online at baptistjax.com/mammo or by calling 904.202.2222.

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