Better breast cancer detection

For about 50 years, mammograms have been proven to be a vital tool in the early screening of breast cancer, detecting abnormalities before they even become cancerous.

Now, a new form of breast cancer screening is on the horizon, which has been scientifically proven to be more effective and efficient than the traditional 2D mammogram.

Digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) is a screening method that X-rays the breast in cross sections and then compiles the images into a complete 3D composite image. This is far more sophisticated technology than single-image mammograms, which can make it difficult to pinpoint the precise site of a cancerous mass inside the breast.

In a research study in Malmö in Sweden, 7500 women underwent both a routine mammogram and a DBT screening. The results found that the 3D technology detected 40 per cent more breast tumours than traditional mammography. The DBT scan also emits far less radiation, and the experience is also significantly more comfortable, with breast compression reduced by 50 per cent.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. In Australia, one in eight women will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime, and seven women die from it every day. The Cancer Council recommends Australian women aged 50–74 years undergo a mammographic screening every two years.

The DBT technology requires further testing before it can be introduced.  However, it is believed the new technology may eventually replace mammography. A five-year study will research the over-diagnosis of patients with benign tumours, and assess who would be an ideal candidate for the scan.  

The research is being conducted by the scientists at Lund University in Sweden.


Written by ameliath