3D Mammography

Your breast is three-dimensional — your mammogram should be too.

Too many of us have either had or know someone who's battled breast cancer. In health care, providers are fighting back against the disease with advances in treatments, research and technology.

One of the most recent advances in technology is breast tomosynthesis, also known as 3D mammography. While 2D digital mammography is still the standard screening method for breast cancer, there are some benefits to leveling up.

I hadn’t seen anything. I hadn’t felt anything. From the stories I’ve heard and my own experience, this wouldn’t have been felt with a professional exam. Mammogram was the key, and the fact that it was 3D caught it a lot smaller.

Vivian Robertson, patient | Read her story


What is 3D mammography?

3D mammography uses low-dose X-rays to take many pictures as cross sections of the breast. These pictures are then blended into one image that offers a detailed look inside the breast.

Advantages of 3D mammography

Fewer callbacks

3D mammography creates a more detailed image shown to improve accuracy and reduce false positive rates for women.

That means fewer callbacks and follow-up tests. Callbacks occur when the radiologist has questions about the images and women are called to come back for additional pictures.

Better for dense breast tissue

3D mammography may be a more accurate way of screening dense breasts. On a standard 2D mammogram, it’s more difficult to see an underlying cancer in women with dense breasts.

Wondering how you know if you have dense breasts? Your primary care provider or nurse practitioner is the best person to ask. If you have dense breasts, 3D mammograms might be a particularly good choice.

Breasts are made up of glandular, connective and fatty tissues. They're considered dense if they have a lot of glandular and connective tissues and not much fatty tissue. About half of women over 40 have dense breasts.

When should you get screened?

The best way to prevent invasive breast cancer is to stay on top of your screenings. Talk with your provider about how often you should get a mammogram. In general, we recommend women age 40 and older have a mammogram every year or two.

Not all medical facilities offer 3D mammograms. To schedule your 3D mammogram with Adventist Health Portland, please call 503-251-6137.