FDA approves 3D mammogram technology


We met Jeanne Parker last July when she was beginning treatment for cancer in both breasts -- cancers her mammogram missed. But a new 3D mammogram caught both cancers.

"The regular mammogram missed them because they were so small and because my breasts were dense but the 3D was able to pick it up," Parker said.

Parker has had successful treatment.

"I just feel so blessed," she said.

She was one of 450 Houston women in a national study on 3D mammography, called tomosynthesis.

"In the study that we were part of, we didn't have any cancers that were missed on 3D," Dr. Stephen Rose said.

Dr. Rose did a side-by-side comparison of the digital 2D and 3D mammograms.

"This is a small, less than 1 centimeter cancer that otherwise would have been missed," Dr. Rose said.

The 3D mammogram shows the breast in slices, making it easier to see a hidden or small cancer, especially in women with dense breasts.

"With tomosynthesis, because we can page through the breast, we're not having to call those patients back for additional tests," Dr. Rose said.

It looks like a regular mammogram and for practical purposes it really is, except that it makes a 3D picture and a 2D picture at the same visit. And doctors like that because the technology is so new they still want to compare them.

Dr. Rose says there are also fewer false positives, meaning less anxiety and fewer biopsies.

"It's been anywhere from 30-50 percent reduction in false positive rate. That's enormous," he said.

"I really feel like it saved my life," Parker said.

The FDA has now approved the 3D mammogram, so now this new technology is available to all women.

There are five locations where women in the Houston area can now get a 3D mammogram. You can call 877-962-6660 or 877-40-MAMMO to find the location nearest you.

The cost is what insurance pays for a regular mammogram plus $50.00.

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