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Published on July 02, 2019

The Benefits of 3D Mammograms

A mammogram takes an image of the breasts using low-dose x-rays and is the only type of diagnostic imaging proven to find cancer early when it is most treatable.

Offered at Wayne UNC Health Care, 3D Mammography (also called Breast Tomosynthesis) offers several advantages over traditional two-dimensional (2D). “Instead of one picture, 3D mammography takes sliced images the radiologist can view slice-by-slice,” said Wayne UNC Imaging-Mammography Supervisor Robin Benson. “We recently saw the benefits of 3D with one patient who had an architectural distortion. Because we had a 3D image, we were able to catch it before it turned into a mass and before you could even feel it.”

The distortion was not visible on a 2D image or ultrasound, said Benson.

3D works by rotating in an arc and taking x-rays of the breasts at different angles. Benson said, patients say they cannot tell the difference in having a 2D from a 3D mammogram. In addition to architectural distortions, 3D is also known for picking up nodules in dense, glandular tissue, often without the need for additional mammogram images.

Mammograms can be slightly uncomfortable for women due to compression required to get the best quality of images possible. This helps the radiologist see the breast tissue better and detect abnormalities.

Breast Cancer Facts

  • The screening recommendations are the same no matter what type of mammogram you are having. The American College of Radiology recommends getting screening mammograms at age 40, then getting a screening mammogram every year thereafter.
  • One in six breast cancers occur in patients in their 40s.
  • There’s been an almost 40-percent reduction in breast cancer related deaths since screening mammograms became widespread in the U.S. in 1990.
  • About 75 percent of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer do not have a family history. So, get a screening mammogram even if you don’t have a family history of breast cancer.

Wayne UNC Health Care is committed to early detection and prevention of breast cancer. We now offer Saturday mammograms once every month for added ease and convenience of completing your screening.

For more information call 919-731-6013.

Schedule Mammogram

Schedule a Screening Mammogram

Fill out our Schedule a Mammogram form to request an appointment at Wayne UNC Health Care. You don’t need a referral for a screening mammogram, but you’ll need to tell us the name of your primary care provider. (Find a Primary Care Provider.)

If you’re experiencing breast pain or feel a lump, see your primary care provider to determine if you need a referral for a diagnostic mammogram.

Schedule a Mammogram