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Advanced mammogram is better than traditional imaging, FDA says

By Stephanie Stahl,


New nationwide study reports more advance mammogram is better than traditional imaging 02:18

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A more advanced kind of mammogram is better than traditional imaging, according to a sweeping new nationwide study released Tuesday.

The FDA says women now have to be notified about what kind of breast tissue they have.

Also with this new study out, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have been leading the way in this newer imaging.

Tomosynthesis is a digital mammogram that provides better views of breast cancer.

"The image tube takes multiple pictures across an ark and then they're reconstructed so that I can see the breast in slices," Dr. Emily Contant, the Chief of Breast Imaging at Penn Medicine , said.

Dr. Contant led a new study that shows tomosynthesis, also called 3D, imaging is better than traditional two-dimensional mammograms.

The study included more than 1 million women and over 2 million mammograms found better cancer detection with 3D screenings and fewer false positives, sparing women anxiety and unnecessary testing.

"It's really becoming the new standard of care," Dr. Contant said.

Tomosynthesis is especially beneficial for women with dense breast tissue. It's important now that the FDA is requiring mammography facilities to notify patients about the density of their breasts.

"This is a big deal because a lot of women don't understand the impact of breast density," Dr. Contant said.

Women with dense breasts that show up whiter on a mammogram have a higher risk of breast cancer, and it makes detection more difficult.

"It will make things a lot better for women going forward," Sarita Fobbs-Worrell, a breast cancer patient, said.

Fobbs-Worrell is among half of all American women who have dense breasts.

The 42-year-old Wyncote mom of two had additional MRI screenings that detected cancer.

"It might have been missed," Fobbs-Worrell said. "It might have been later in its stages, so I feel like that was a blessing to me."

"I feel like I'm back to my normal self again," she added.

Fobbs-Worrell ended up having a double mastectomy and reconstruction.

For women with very dense breasts, insurance usually covers the additional screenings.

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