3D Mammography technology again made news recently when results of the largest study to date on this new form of imaging were released. The research was published in the peer-reviewed Radiology, the Radiological Society of North America scientific journal.
The study highlighted how well 3D imaging is working in a clinical setting. Recently, ella health’s Director of Clinical Services, Eileen Ann Morgans, answered some questions about the research.
Why is this study important?
It verifies the effectiveness of using a combination of 2D and 3D mammography in the clinical setting. It was proven to be effective before it won FDA approval, and other studies have shown how well it works. This, however, is the first prospective study. While other studies involved reviewing records of exams that had already taken place, this one looked at exams that were done as part of the research. This type of study is a more accurate reflection of what actually happens in the clinic.
How meaningful is this study?
It is peer-reviewed, which means that independent doctors have evaluated it and determined it is valid. Also, it involves more than 12,600 patients, which makes it the largest so far.
The study showed an increase in the detection of breast cancer. How does 3D compare to conventional imaging?
The study showed that the 3D technology combined with 2D images increased detection of breast cancer by 27 percent. There was a 40 percent increase in the detection of invasive breast cancers. Significantly, there was no increase in the detection of ductal carcinoma in situ, which is non-invasive.
It is important to note that the improvement was for women with dense breasts as well as those with fatty tissue. This matters because it can be more difficult to detect cancer in women who have dense breasts.
What happens in terms of false positives?
This study showed a 15 percent drop in the rate of false positives. This happens when there is something that appears to be cancer but further testing shows that it is not. The goal is to reduce false positives because it creates unnecessary anxiety.
Will this change the way things are done at ella health?
No. We will continue to offer 3D as we have already done. This is just additional confirmation that the technology we provide is the most effective at detecting cancer while reducing the number of false positives.
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