IU Health Bedford Hospital

Pink Power: Learn Benefits of 3D Mammography

We are IU Health

July 06, 2018

One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.

The pink ribbon associated with breast cancer is prominently displayed in October as a powerful symbol of hope, support and community for many, and an awareness and education campaign for others. Starting at age 40, women should start to ask their doctor about the need for screening mammograms or ultrasounds. High-risk women may need earlier screenings, says IU Health Southern Indiana Physicians surgeon Alison Heidt, MD.

Risk factors for breast cancer include:

  • Female gender: Breast cancer is 100 times more common in women than men, but men can also develop breast cancer.
  • Genetics: Between 5-10 percent of breast cancers are inherited as a result of genetic mutations. There are now
  • many known gene mutations that can contribute to increased breast cancer risk, the most well-known are BRCA-1 and BRCA-2.
  • Estrogen exposure: Most breast cancers are estrogen-loving; there has been increased risk among women with more exposure to estrogen i.e. with early menstruation, not having children, late menopause, hormone replacement therapy, etc.
  • Lifestyle factors: Heavy alcohol use and obesity.

3D in detail

How does the 3D machine work?

The machine, available at IU Health Morgan, works much like traditional mammography. During the 3D portion of the exam, an x-ray arm sweeps over the breast, taking multiple images in seconds. This is especially good for women with dense breast tissue because the dense tissue is difficult to see through on standard 2D imaging. The 3D imaging allows the radiologist to scroll through that tissue in very thin layers, like looking at each page of a book instead of just the front cover.

How much more effective is 3D at finding cancer?

Studies have demonstrated as much as a 41 percent increase in overall breast cancer detection and it also can reduce call backs by as much as 30 percent. The radiation dose, as well, is minimal and well below the acceptable limits defined by the FDA.

Insight provided by John MacBeth and Jodi Bullock, IU Health Morgan Radiology.

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