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3D Mammography is Here

As a part of its $4 million investment in women's health, Summa Health has installed new 3D mammography imaging technology at all eight of its breast screening locations. Summa is the only healthcare provider in northeast Ohio to offer this FDA-approved imaging option for both screening and diagnostic mammograms.

3D mammography offers distinct advantages over 2D technology, including improved cancer detection, less false positives and fewer call backs for additional images.

"3D mammography allows radiologists to view breast tissue layer-by-layer in multiple images, rather than relying on a flat 2D digital image," said Jennifer Pavlo, M.D., Summa radiologist and a member of the multidisciplinary team of breast specialists at the Breast Center at Summa Akron City Hospital.

"We can see the difference between benign and cancerous masses more clearly, especially in women with dense breast tissue," Dr. Pavlo said.

According to Pavlo, there are three good reasons for women to choose 3D over 2D mammography.

"It's convenient - 3D imaging can be performed right along with a traditional 2D digital mammogram. This allows radiologists to compare new 2D images with older 2D images. The 3D portion of the exam takes just four seconds," she said.

"It's safe - 3D mammography is approved by the FDA for all women undergoing a screening mammogram or a follow-up exam. Multiple clinical studies show that all women benefit from 3D mammography," said Pavlo.

"It's effective - 3D mammography detects cancer earlier and with fewer false alarms. Traditional 2D mammography has been shown to miss 20 percent of early cancers, particularly in women with dense breast tissue. 3D provides sharper, multiple images for more clarity," said Pavlo.

According to a landmark study1 published in the Journal of the American Medical Association which evaluated nearly 500,000 mammography exams, 3D mammography significantly increases cancer detection.

Researchers found that when 3D mammography was used, there was a:

  • 41 percent increase in detection of invasive breast cancers
  • 29 percent increase in detection of all breast cancers
  • 49 percent increase in positive predictive value (PPV) for a recall2
  • 21 percent increase in PPV for biopsy3
  • 15 percent decrease in women recalled for additional imaging

"A screening that can detect cancer in its earliest stages, when it can be more easily treated, is a huge benefit for women," said Dr. Pavlo.


1Friedewald SM, Rafferty EA, Rose SL, Durand MA, Plecha DM, Greenberg JS, Hayes MK, Copit DS, Carlson KL, Cink TM, Barke LD, Greer LN, Miller DP, Conant EF, Breast Cancer Screening Using Tomosynthesis in Combination with Digital Mammography, JAMA June 25, 2014.

2PPV for recall is a widely used measure of the proportion of women recalled from screening that are found to have breast cancer.

3PPV for biopsy is a widely used measure of the proportion of women having a breast biopsy that are found to have breast cancer.



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