eDocTalk article

All Legacy Breast Health Centers now offer 3-D mammography

September 2013

Patients at all four Legacy Breast Health Centers are now receiving their mammograms in 3-D. Legacy Breast Health Center–Good Samaritan introduced 3-D technology, or tomosynthesis, to patients last October. It was the first Portland facility to offer 3-D mammography, and Legacy is currently the only health system in the Portland-Vancouver region to offer it to all patients.

Studies show that 3-D helps catch more cancers, earlier –– important given that the five-year survival rate for localized breast cancer is 98 percent.

Using 3-D mammography also means fewer call-backs and less anxiety for patients.  

Greater accuracy

The FDA reviewed results from two studies where board-certified radiologists were asked to review 2-D and 3-D images from more than 300 mammography exams. In both studies, radiologists viewing the 2-D and 3-D images obtained a 7 percent improvement in their ability to distinguish between cancerous and non-cancerous cases, as compared to viewing 2-D images alone.

Another trial, published in the April 2013 issue of Radiology, found that tomosynthesis used in addition to 2-D mammography resulted in:

    • A 27 percent increase in cancer detection rates
    • A 15 percent decrease in false-positive rates

Patient indicators

This technology is especially useful for the approximately 50 percent of women with dense breasts, which pose a strong risk for breast cancer. Using 3-D mammography is also useful for women with a family history of breast cancer.

Because it is difficult to predict who will benefit from tomosynthesis before the exam, Legacy Health offers all patients 3-D mammography. The 3-D approach is used in conjunction with 2-D.

There is no additional cost to patients for 3-D, and physicians do not need to specify 3-D when referring patients to a Legacy Breast Health Center. The standard of care at Legacy Emanuel, St. Helens Imaging and Legacy Medical Group–Women’s Specialties in West Linn is 2-D digital mammography.

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