Tomosynthesis detects more breast cancers compared to traditional mammography

Tomosynthesis detects 40% more breast cancers than traditional mammography does, according to a major screening study from Lund University, Sweden. This is the first large-scale study to compare the screening method with regular mammograms. The 3D X-ray technique is also more comfortable for women, as breast compression is halved.

A total of 7 500 women aged 40-74 took part in the first half of the study, which formed the basis for the findings.

"We see a change as inevitable. Breast tomosynthesis will be introduced, it is just a question of when and on what scale," explains Sophia Zackrisson and Kristina Lång, radiologists at Skåne University Hospital in Malmö and researchers at Lund University.

Breast tomosynthesis is a three-dimensional X-ray technique that makes it easier to detect tumours in breast tissue. The technique works on the same principle as tomography. This means that X-ray images of the breast are acquired from different angles, which can then show multiple thin layers of the breast. This is compared with a traditional mammography, where all the breast tissue is reproduced in a single image, which can hinder the early detection of tumours.

The new technique also reduces discomfort and pain, because the breast does not have to be compressed as firmly as in the current examination technique. This could lead to higher levels of participation in future screening programmes.

Among the other advantages are lower radiation doses than in traditional mammography, and the ready availability of the equipment on the market, which would facilitate a transition.

However, there are a few challenges remaining before the method can be introduced on a large scale. As with other screening methods, there is a risk of overdiagnosis (in mammography screening, the figure is 10-20 per cent). The researchers do not know what that number is for tomosynthesis, and further studies are needed to investigate the rate of overdiagnosis with tomosynthesis.

The study found that there was an increase in recall rates, meaning more healthy women with benign lesions were recalled for further testing. This is a drawback in screening, says Kristina Lång, as it can cause unnecessary psychological stress.

The ongoing research will also look at costs. Breast tomosynthesis is a somewhat more expensive technique.

"We see five to ten years from now as a possible timeframe for the large-scale introduction of the technique. There is also an aspiration for more personalised screening, and breast tomosynthesis could therefore be one of several methods used", concludes Sophia Zackrisson.


Lund University


  1. Ken O Ken O United States says:

    This is biased product advertisement, disguised as "educational" information, of corporate medicine for one of their highly lucrative yet highly toxic interventions, digital mammography.

    Because the big business of allopathic medicine has indoctrinated the public with the deceptive notion that "improved breast cancer screening" equals more deaths from breast cancer are averted, very few people understand that with "improved breast cancer screening" come increased overdiagnosis which means more healthy women will get mutilated and killed by the scientific cancer treatments of this business cartel.

    It is also incorrect that tomography/tomosynthesis reduces radiation exposure, it's actually slightly higher over standard mammography but, like above, what this business industry doesn't tell the public is that the lowest dose of an xrays is carcinogenic and that the use of low dose xrays is a prime cause of cancer, especially breast cancer (see 'The Mammogram Myth' by Rolf Hefti.

    There is no reliable evidence that tomography reduces mortality from breast cancer, just like there is marginal, if any, good evidence that standard mammogaphy does anything of great significance in terms of breast cancer mortality reduction but (practically only medical industry-sponsored biased "studies" claim that), but plenty of sound data shows the test does more serious harm than serious good (read Hefti's 'The Mammogram Myth' and 'Mammography Screening: Truth, Lies and Controversy' by Peter Gotzsche).

    Also because of the relentless medical propaganda, few realize that almost all people and interest groups who support mammography are profiteers of it, like oncologists, radiologists, surgeon, medical trade groups, mammogram machine makers (eg Hologic), cancer charities, etc. This cancer cartel has been misguiding and lying to the public for countless years. They do it here again...

    Do you start to get how the game works?

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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