By now, most women understand the importance of getting a mammogram. But what is a 3D mammogram, and when should you think about upgrading to one?
By Holly Rhoton R.T.(M)(B.D.)
During a 3D mammogram, a machine uses low-dose X-ray to take a number of images. Those images are then reconstructed to give doctors and radiologists a three-dimensional view of the breast. 3D mammography takes more specialized pictures that can see through breast tissue better, while using the same positioning and compression as a regular 2D mammogram.
Who should consider upgrading to a 3D mammogram?
Women with dense breast tissue. About 40% of women have dense breast tissue. This is determined at the time of your mammogram based on the way your tissue looks in the pictures. Dense breast tissue is more common in younger women.
Women with a strong family history of breast cancer. Usually, a strong family history is defined as having one or more first- or second-degree relatives, such as a sister, mother, or aunt, who have had breast cancer.
Women with a personal history of breast cancer. Having breast cancer once puts you at a higher risk for developing breast cancer a second time.
Women with breast implants. Breast implants do not necessarily increase your risk of breast cancer, but they can make mammograms more difficult to read. This is especially true for implants placed in front of the muscle. When placed this way, the implant can hide some of the breast tissue during imaging.
3D mammograms are now offered at Summit Healthcare. Please note that not all insurances cover 3D mammography, so check with your insurance company before you receive one. If your insurer does not cover 3D mammography, you can buy a voucher through our MDsave program. This program allows participants to pay cash at a discounted price without going through their insurance company. Visit MDsave.com for more information.
All women need an order from their medical providers for a mammogram. This order does not need to say “3D” mammogram. A standard mammogram order is fine. Once our scheduling department has your order, they’ll call you and schedule an appointment for you.
If you have any questions, call Women’s Imaging at 928.537.6589 to speak with one of our mammographers.
Did You Know?
According to the American Cancer Society:
- About 80% of women who develop breast cancer have no family history of the disease.
- Age has a significant impact on breast cancer risk. Most cases of the disease occur after age 55.
- Dense breast tissue can increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer by 1.5 to two times.