3-D Mammograms May Find More Breast Cancer
By Lindsey Tanner, AP Medical Reporter
3-D mammograms may be better at finding cancer than regular scans, a large study suggests, although whether that means saving more lives isn't known.
The study involved almost half a million breast scans, with more than one-third of them using relatively new 3-D imaging along with conventional scans. The rest used regular mammograms alone.
The 3-D scan combo detected one additional cancer per 1,000 scans, compared with conventional digital mammograms. There were also 15 percent fewer false alarms — meaning fewer initially suspicious scan results that additional testing showed wasn't cancer.
But the study wasn't designed to determine whether the combined 3-D scans resulted in better long-term outcomes, and the procedure studied has drawbacks including higher costs, less insurance coverage and more radiation, depending on the machine.
Still, the researchers say their results are promising and confirm benefits found in smaller, less diverse studies.
"The technology finds more invasive cancers earlier when they are easiest to treat and reduces unnecessary recalls for false alarms," said Dr. Donna Plecha, a co-author and director of breast imaging at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.
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