What You Need to Know – Especially if You Are Ages 40 to 49
Many women have come to understand that new technology in breast cancer screening has made a difference in survival rates. Some have even begun to request 3D mammography – also called tomosynthesis – the technology that makes it easier to detect breast cancer earlier, when it is easier to treat.
A multi-institutional study by JAMA Oncology, titled “Association of Digital Breast Tomosynthesis vs Digital Mammography with Cancer Detection and Recall Rates by Age and Breast Density,” confirms that digital breast tomosynthesis identifies breast cancers with a better long-term prognosis in women across all ages. In addition to increased breast cancer detection, 3D mammography has also been shown to decrease false-positive results.
Breast cancer technology has evolved over the decades and varying screening recommendations continue to make headlines. As the debate continues over when and how women should be screened for breast cancer, knowing that 3D mammography decreases the frequency of false-positive results is important.
“Windsong fully supports the American College of Radiology breast cancer screening recommendations that all women of average risk should have annual mammograms starting at age 40,” said Dr. Anna Chen, director of women’s imaging at Windsong. Those with a family history of cancer should talk to their doctor to see if earlier and additional screening is appropriate.”
Different breast screening recommendations place varying emphasis on perceived risks. One fact that surprises many women is that although breast cancer risk increases with age, more women in their 40s are actually diagnosed with breast cancer than are women in their 70s. Sadly, one-third of all years of life lost to breast cancer occur in women diagnosed in their 40s. For this reason alone, women ages 40 to 49 should not miss scheduling this important annual lifesaving exam.
Women have choices today in breast cancer screening, and Windsong offers patients access to technology like 3D mammography that finds more cancer earlier, when it is most easily treated. Women need to know that 3D mammography also excels at revealing breast cancers in dense breast tissue that could go unnoticed with digital mammograms. In addition to the increased sensitivity of 3D mammography, it also has a greater specificity, reducing the need for a callback for additional imaging following a screening mammogram. Those who have been called back for additional imaging are fully aware of the anxiety it provokes. Studies have shown that 3D mammograms decrease recall rates by 15 percent to 30 percent – a very big deal for any woman.
To add to the overwhelming advantages of 3D mammography, Windsong provides 3D mammograms at the same radiation exposure as the traditional digital mammogram. Every patient is offered this lifesaving exam, including those who get screened on Windsong’s mobile mammogram unit, which is available throughout Western New York’s underserved areas. Additionally, most insurances today are covering 3D mammography in full. For patients, this translates to no out-of-pocket costs, a better exam, earlier detection and more lives saved – what could be better?
To learn more about Windsong’s 3D mammograms, visit windsongwny.com or call 716-631-2500 to schedule your annual mammogram today.