3D cuts mammogram "false positives"

WASHINGTON, D.C.; Nov. 20, 2012

It shows adding 3-D imaging to the standard mammogram through a method called tomosynthesis leads to more accurate diagnoses and fewer false positives.

Dr. Elizabeth Rafferty of Massachusetts General Hospital, the lead researcher, says tomosynthesis addresses the 2 biggest concerns about mammograms - missed cancers and false positives.

According to the National Cancer Institute, up to 30 per cent of tumors can be missed by mammograms alone.

In 2 separate studies, the accuracy of mammograms with tomosynthesis improves by 10 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively.

And recalls - women called back because of questionable readings - dropped by 36 per cent in one study and 17 per cent in another.

3-D imaging and digital mammograms can be done at the same time with the same equipment, though it does increase radiation exposure slightly. And the cost is a little higher.

So next time you schedule your yearly mammogram, ask about 3-D imaging.

Also today-

You would think if you could email your doctor or get test results online, that you would need fewer in-office visits.

But doctors looked at thousands of people who have this online service with their health care provider, and noticed these patients are actually making more appointments and calling the office more frequently.

The plus side is that patients are more involved in their care.

But doctors say we need to find a way to use the technology better to keep people healthier.

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