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UnityPoint Clinic - Express (Marshalltown)

1704 South Center Street
Marshalltown, IA 50158

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3D Mammography

Screening for Breast Cancer

Early detection is the best defense against breast cancer, and mammography has been the gold standard screening examination for the early detection of it. Since the development of standard mammography, there have been major advances in the technology. Digital 2D mammography was the most recent advancement introduced. Now, DBT or 3D Mammography, has taken this technology to a new level.

The breast is a three-dimensional object composed of different structures, such as blood vessels, milk ducts, fat and ligaments. All these structures, which are located at different levels within the breast, can overlap and cause uncertainty when viewed as a two-dimensional, flat image. The uncertainty of overlapping tissue is a leading reason why small breast cancers may be missed and normal tissue may appear abnormal, leading to unnecessary call-backs.

Once you have a doctor's referral for a mammogram, call us at (641) 754-5076 to schedule an appointment or to learn more about 3D mammography.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Digital Breast 3D Mammography?

Digital Breast Tomosynthesis is a new technology in the fight against breast cancer. It allows doctors to examine a breast tissue one layer at a time. During 3D mammography, multiple low-dose images or "slices" of the breast are taken at different angles. With this new technology, the radiologist can view a mammogram in a way never before possible. As a result, fine details of the breast are more clearly visible and no longer hidden by overlapping tissue.

Am I a candidate for 3D mammography?

Health care providers believe all patients benefit from this new technology. However, the best candidates are those with dense breast tissue and/or a strong family history of breast cancer.

What should I expect from 3D mammography?

3D mammography is very similar to a traditional mammogram. Just as with a traditional digital mammogram, the technologist will position you, compress your breast under a paddle and take images from different angles. Positioning is the same as a standard 2D mammogram. The exposure time will be longer by just a few seconds, depending on the density of your breasts. Although 3D mammography takes a few seconds longer, there is no additional compression.

Do I get more radiation with 3D mammography?

Our state-of-the-art technology results in X-ray exposure that's similar to a standard 2D mammogram. The FDA has found the combination of 3D and standard mammography to be safe and effective for patient use.

Will my insurance cover 3D mammography?

Most insurance companies cover 3D mammography, but please contact your carrier for complete details.

What does the American Cancer Society recommend?

The ACS suggests breast screening mammograms should begin at age 40 and continue annually until age 75. After 75, any recommendation is based on health status.