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Tools for Breast Density Assessment:
breast imaging technology

Breast Imaging Technology

There are risks and benefits to each technology and a woman’s personal screening plan should always be developed in partnership with her healthcare provider.

Table. Summary of Cancer Detection Rates for Commonly Available Breast Screening Tests


If 1,000 Women Are Screened With

Number of Women Found to Have Cancer

Type of Technology

Number of Women Called Back for More Testing

Regular 2D-mammogram alone

2-7 total

Ionizing Radiation

100

2D-mammogram plus
3D-mammogram (tomosynthesis)*

Mammogram 2-7 + Tomosynthesis 1-2
= 3-9 total

Ionizing Radiation

70

Regular 2D-mammogram plus ultrasound (US)*

Mammogram 2-7 + Ultrasound 2-4
= 4-11 total

Sound waves

170-230

Regular 2D-mammogram plus contrast-enhanced MRI

Mammogram 2-7 +
MRI 10 or more
= 12-17 or more total

Magnetic field and intravenous contrast

160-220

Courtesy of Dr. Wendie Berg
* One prospective, multi-centered study in Italy (ASTOUND) showed that adding ultrasound significantly improved detection of cancer even after the combination of 2D and 3D mammography.
Hooley, R. “Tomosynthesis.” in Berg WA and Yang WT eds. Diagnostic Imaging: Breast, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Amirsys) 2014, pp. 2-14 to 2-19.
Friedewald SM, Rafferty EA, Rose SL, et al. Breast cancer screening using tomosynthesis in combination with digital mammography. JAMA 2014; 311:2499-2507
Berg WA. “Screening Ultrasound.” in Berg WA and Yang WT eds. Diagnostic Imaging: Breast, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Amirsys) 2014, pp. 9-38 to 9-43.
Berg WA. "Screening MRI." in Berg WA and Yang WT eds. Diagnostic Imaging: Breast, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Amirsys) 2014, pp. 9-44 to 9-49.