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3D Mammograms Are Changing the Breast Cancer Detection Game

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 230,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year alone. Some 40,000 women will lose their lives to this disease. Early detection has long been proven to increase the odds of survival in a woman’s favor with mammograms serving as the best possible tool for getting the job done right. The relatively recent introduction of 3D mammograms is making this test even more accurate and valuable as a first line of defense, especially for women with dense breast tissue.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of 3D mammography back in 2011.

This tool is able to better visualize breast tissue than standard 2D mammograms. That fact makes it especially important for women with dense breast tissue, which is known to block the effectiveness of standard mammograms in finding lesions as early as possible. The 3D mammogram uses X-rays to take pictures of the breast at multiple angles. These images are then brought together to create a complete representation of the breast. The end result is a scan that is better able to detect small lesions than a standard 2D mammogram.

Mammograms are recommended annually for all women starting at the age of 45. Women at higher risk for breast cancer, however, may find that screening should begin sooner and take place more frequently. After the age of 55, the need for mammograms goes down to about once every two years. Mammograms, both 2D and 3D, serve as a vital tool in helping doctors detect and treat breast cancer in its earliest stages.

All women are urged to talk to their doctors long before the age of 45 about their personal risks for this disease and preventative measures they might be able to take. When detected early, breast cancer is often highly treatable. The introduction of 3D mammograms is helping on this front.

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