Just like a 3-D photo is more detailed and lifelike than a 2-D image, digital breast tomosynthesis—or 3-D mammography—provides radiologists with a clearer view of breast tissues. And that's why this new technology has rapidly become an essential imaging tool that enhances a doctor's ability to detect breast cancer early. With breast cancer, earlier detection leads to earlier treatment, less aggressive treatment options and better outcomes.
With 3-D mammography, radiologists have the advantage of being able to view breast images in "slices," so they can see straight through tissue layers. Another advantage is that 3-D mammography eliminates the problem of breast cancer being masked by overlapping fibroglandular tissue, which sometimes happens with conventional 2-D mammograms. Research shows 3-D mammography is up to 40 percent better at detecting invasive breast cancers.
At Yale Medicine, we perform 3-D and 2-D mammography simultaneously. The procedure is quick—it doesn't take any more time for the patient to have her mammogram. Talk to your health care provider about when you should begin having mammograms, which for many patients is in their 40s.