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3D Mammography Study Shows Better Breast Cancer Detection

Stamford Hospital first in area to use technology

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Stamford, CT | Added on July 01, 2014 At 02:39 PM

A new study says 3D mammogram technology is increasing breast cancer detection rates and decreasing patient call backs.  Dr. David Gruen says they're seeing it first hand at Stamford Hospital.  

"We're finding more cancer, we're finding smaller cancers, we're finding cancers only with a 3D mammography and we're not taking extra pictures on the women who don't need it," said Dr. David Gruen, director of women's imaging and co-director of the women's breast center at Stamford Hospital.  

The three-dimensional test was approved in 2011, and now the Journal of the American Medical Association study is reporting positive results.

"What they found in that study was a 41 percent increase in invasive cancers in 3D as opposed to 2D mammography," said Dr. Gruen.  "They also found a 15 percent decrease in the recalls, the unnecessary with 3D as compared to 2D."

Dr. Gruen says less recalls means less radiation, anxiety and cost.

"For every thousand women that have a mammogram, 400 fewer need extra pictures.  That's a massive number," said Dr. Gruen.  

A 3D screening is similar to 2D, only the machine takes several pictures of the breast creating a 3D image and a more in depth exam. 

Since mammograms were widely adopted in 1990, survival rates have dramatically increased.  Although JAMA's study doesn't conclude 3D screenings save lives, Dr. Gruen says it will have a major impact.

"So the message for women, is if they have a choice, and in this community they're fortunate to have a choice, they only get a chance once a year to find their breast cancer.  This is kind of a no brainer.  They should really have the best test possible," said Dr. Gruen.  

Stamford Hospital is the only institution in Fairfield County using the technology and has been for more than 2 years.  While the equipment is expensive, Dr. Gruen says in makes no difference in patient cost.


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