New 3D Test Can Catch Breast Cancer Early

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About a year ago, Ivory Pooser had a routine mammogram.

What followed a few weeks later was not so routine.

“I got a letter and the letter stated that I think that something is not showing up on your test as being normal,” she said.

A return visit and another mammogram proved there was no cause for concern, but Pooser, like thousands of women each year, had to handle a very frightening experience a false positive screening.

Now, new technology could lower those false positives by 20 to 40 percent.

The newest instrument utilizes 3D technology.

“In traditional 2D imaging, we used to look at the breast from one side of the breast to the other,” said Dr. Michael Cohen, director of Breast Imaging at Emory Healthcare.

“What digital tomosynthesis lets us do is actually open the book and look at pages of the breast one page at a time, each being a millimeter of breast tissue so that we can actually peer into the breast tissue in a much deeper fashion to separate normal from abnormal and get a more accurate diagnoses.”

Because they can see so much more detail, doctors are able to find smaller abnormal cells very early on.

“If we can find them at around at a centimeter, which is 10 millimeters, I think we are doing a good job. Excellent opportunity for cure, excellent opportunity for a small cosmetic procedure, a lumpectomy not a mastectomy,” said Dr. Cohen.

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