Hospital gives first tomosynthesis mammograms in region this week

December 7, 2011

There is still a one in eight lifetime risk that a woman will develop breast cancer, and the best tool against the disease remains early detection. Now, Women & infants Hospital of Rhode Island has taken the breast cancer battle to the next level with the installation of the most advanced imaging technology available, called digital breast tomosynthesis.

Women & Infants is the first and only facility in southeastern New England to offer this new technology, which was approved in February 2011 by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The first woman to receive a digital tomosynthesis test in the region was processed at the hospital yesterday.

Digital breast tomosynthesis captures three-dimensional images of the breast versus the two-dimensional ones available through standard full-field . This gives a more comprehensive and clear image for the radiologist to interpret, increases the early detection rate for by up to 15%, and decreases the number of false positive findings by about 25%.

"Tomosynthesis gives doctors a clearer view of a woman's breast tissue and significantly helps us screen for and find potential breast cancers," explained Patricia Spencer, MD, chief of the Department of Diagnostic Imaging at & Infants.

The new technology is used at the same time the technologist conducts a routine digital mammography, which is still considered the "gold standard" in breast imaging. However, the two-dimensional digital mammography takes an image of the entire breast in one exposure, which means features of the breast can be hidden by overlapping tissue.

Tomosynthesis takes images from multiple angles and uses computer processing to compile them into a three-dimensional picture a radiologist can examine and manipulate. The added detail helps the radiologist pinpoint the size, location and shape of any breast abnormality, and can help distinguish real tumors from harmless abnormalities. Because digital breast tomosynthesis removes the layers of breast structure and tissue, it is particularly beneficial for women with dense breasts.

"The result is fewer calls to patients for further testing and less overall anxiety for women," Dr. Spencer said. Even though in 2010, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended screening every two years for women ages 50 to 74, the American Cancer Society still recommends annual screening for all women age 40 and older. Women & Infants adheres to the American Cancer Society recommendations, believing the best chance for survival and cure is . This is the hospital's motivation for bringing the advanced technology of digital tomosynthesis to the women of Rhode Island and southeastern New England.

Explore further: New technology offers the next generation of mammography

Related Stories

New technology offers the next generation of mammography

October 1, 2011
Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer among women in the United States, with approximately 200,000 new diagnoses each year. Early detection is key in the treatment of breast cancer and the biggest advancement ...

Breast cancer screening

September 29, 2011
It can be difficult to sort through the many messages regarding breast cancer screening. Fancy billboards seen along the highways, recommendations made by your neighbor or the local newscaster, or mixed messages throughout ...

Recommended for you

Study identifies miR122 target sites in liver cancer and links a gene to patient survival

August 22, 2017
A new study of a molecule that regulates liver-cell metabolism and suppresses liver-cancer development shows that the molecule interacts with thousands of genes in liver cells, and that when levels of the molecule go down, ...

Retaining one normal BRCA gene in breast, ovarian cancers influences patient survival

August 22, 2017
Determining which cancer patients are likely to be resistant to initial treatment is a major research effort of oncologists and laboratory scientists. Now, ascertaining who might fall into that category may become a little ...

Study provides insight into link between two rare tumor syndromes

August 22, 2017
UCLA researchers have discovered that timing is everything when it comes to preventing a specific gene mutation in mice from developing rare and fast-growing cancerous tumors, which also affects young children. This mutation ...

Zebrafish larvae could be used as 'avatars' to optimize personalized treatment of cancer

August 21, 2017
Portuguese scientists have for the first time shown that the larvae of a tiny fish could one day become the preferred model for predicting, in advance, the response of human malignant tumors to the various therapeutic drugs ...

Scientists discover vitamin C regulates stem cell function, curbs leukemia development

August 21, 2017
Not much is known about stem cell metabolism, but a new study from the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) has found that stem cells take up unusually high levels of vitamin C, which then ...

Searching for the 'signature' causes of BRCAness in breast cancer

August 21, 2017
Breast cancer cells with defects in the DNA damage repair-genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 have a mutational signature (a pattern of base swaps—e.g., Ts for Gs, Cs for As—throughout a genome) known in cancer genomics as "Signature ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.