New 3D Mammograms to Help Detect Cancer?

| by Alex Groberman

In a recent vote, the Food and Drug Administration agreed to approve the Selenia Dimensions System – a new three-dimensional mammography system used to screen patients for potential breast cancer.

The system, developed by Hologic Inc., utilizes 3D images which in turn provide clearer visuals and eliminate the overlapping of tissue that was commonly seen in conventional mammograms.

Mammograms, of course, produce two-dimensional images, which at this point are becoming more and more dated. The new Hologic mammograms, though, will allow for both two- and three- dimensional screenings. This, in turn, will allow doctors to compare previous standard two-dimensional mammograms side-by-side.

"We do believe we will be able to lessen the unnecessary recalls [for more screening] and hopefully find cancer earlier and save more lives," said Robert Cascella, Hologic's chief executive.

Prior to its arrival in the U.S., this device had been approved in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Canada and Mexico.

The FDA had this to say on the matter:

Traditional mammograms are still the best way to find breast cancer, but the limited technology requires some women to have additional testing. Reviewing an additional 3-D images helped doctors find more cancers than with 2-D images alone.”

The biggest problem with the newly-approved device is the increase in radiation dose receieved by patients. However, supporters argue that because of the increased accuracy associated with detecting cancers courtesy of this device – the risk is worth it.

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