In honor of Mother’s Day, let’s talk women’s health. Along with skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women. And while sunscreen can help protect your skin, one of the best ways to protect yourself from breast cancer is through early detection. Fortunately, regular breast exams can help catch cancer at a more easily treated earlier stage. Traditionally, these have been done through mammograms, but a new, advanced mammogram called digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) has proven to be even more successful at detecting cancer.
So what is DBT? DBT is different from traditional mammograms in that it essentially takes a three-dimensional image of the breast. Traditional mammograms only provide flat images, which can make it difficult to see deeper into the breast tissue. DBT gets an inside look by taking multiple images and compiling them together in the computer to create one 3D image. It’s also important to note that DBT has double the radiation than usual mammograms, but it is still within the safe limit.
This complete picture you’re getting with DBT allows for a more accurate and clearer look at the breast tissue. One reason that DBT has proved superior is that the breasts aren’t compressed in the same way that a mammogram requires, which can sometimes hide cancer within overlapping breast tissue. Plus, DBT images clearly show the size, shape, and location of any problems, and call backs are reduced by 15.6%. But most important of all, detection of cancers using DBT went up by 22.7%, as compared to traditional mammograms.
There are more benefits to DBT beyond just the facts. The reduced callbacks mean less stress and anxiety, and fewer unnecessary biopsies or tests. The process doesn’t need to compress the breasts as much, so there’s also less pain and discomfort for the woman. All-in-all, this means that women can stop putting off their exams due to uncalled-for worries, and stay healthy!
So far, DBT has proven successful in improving women’s breast health. Because it’s still relatively new, it’s currently only available in a limited number of hospitals.