3D Mammography & Breast Density

You may have seen in the news this week that the European Breast Cancer Conference is being held in Amsterdam and many of the topics being discussed are already making waves in the UK press.

One key subject being discussed is the need for improved screening technology in the NHS. Currently in the NHS, radiographers use 2D mammography to screen women but recent findings show that some cancers are being missed when women have more dense breasts.

Scientists in Italy and Australia have studied the dense breast tissue of more than 3,000 women and they found using ultrasound and 3D technology allowed them to spot 7 extra cancers in every 1,000 women with dense breast tissue.

Based on these findings, and the vast numbers of women who are screened every year in the UK, if this technology was introduced, 3,500 extra cancers would be detected and therefore treated earlier than they may have been using 2D mammography.

Breast density is an area of research that has been at the forefront of our minds for quite a while as research has shown that women with denser breasts have an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Dr Tony Maxwell, who is currently carrying out Genesis’ FHTomo study, had this to say:

“This is a significant issue. The problem is there’s no point telling a woman she’s got dense breasts unless you’re going to offer her additional screening.

“But at the moment we’re not in a position to do that.”

But hopefully, further research into this technology, and how it benefits so many women in the breast screening programme, will help us make vital steps towards adding these methods to the Breast Screening Programme.