Breast tomosynthesis is similar to mammography, but could significantly reduce the number of callbacks.
(September 2011) Patients who visit the Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven for mammograms can now choose a new technology that is designed to cut down on false scares.
Breast tomosynthesis is the latest technological advance in detecting breast cancer. The Breast Center is the first center in Connecticut to offer it to patients, after participating as one of five beta sites to conduct a trial for the first vendor to get FDA approval for the technology last February.
Liane Philpotts, MD, chief of breast imaging for the Yale Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital, described the new test in an interview with News Channel 8 WTNH.com:
Breast tomosynthesis is similar to mammography, except that it generates a 3-D image of the breast that can then be viewed in on millimeter slices. Dr. Philpotts has likened it to leafing through the pages of a book, much like a CT scan, but with a much lower radiation level. “The 3-D allows us to dismiss a lot of things that we can just see is normal tissue," says Dr. Philpotts told Channel 8.
Currently one in 10 women are called back after a suspicious mammogram. Dr. Philpotts hopes to use the new unit will allow to screen as many patients as possible. “I expect it to reduce a lot of callbacks that are false positives due to superimposed tissue,” she said. “We may also find a few cancers we might have missed, especially those hiding in dense tissue.”
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