3-D Mammograms At UAMS Helping Detection Rates

Jul 25, 2014

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences campus in Little Rock.
Credit uams.edu / UAMS

Radiologists at the University of Arkansas for the Medical Sciences are now using 3-D Mammogram technology that they say can uncover some previously undetectable breast cancers. Dr. Sharp Malak specializes in breast imaging at UAMS. He says traditional 2-D mammography couldn’t always detect every cancer and could sometimes detect abnormalities that end up being false positives. With the 3-D technology, known as Tomosynthesis, he says that has changed.

“The beauty of Tomosynthesis is that we’re able to find 30 to 40 percent more breast cancers. And we’re able to reduce the number of false positives by 30 percent. So with this one tool, we’re able to find more cancers and have less people come back for things that were normal,” he says.

The technology, known as breast tomosynthesis, has been in place for about 4 months, Malak says.

“In breast imaging we’re constantly reviewing our numbers and seeing how many patients we’re calling back, what our cancer-detection rate is—how many cancers we’re finding per thousand screening mammograms,” he says. “So we’re constantly reviewing our numbers and adjusting our sensitivity and specificity for our exams. We’re constantly fine-tuning what we’re calling back.”

A study published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 3-D Mammograms have led to a 41 percent increase in the detection of invasive breast cancers. UAMS is the first hospital in the state to use the technology.