UCLA Health has announced that an advanced system of breast-screening technology is operational at its medical campuses in Santa Monica and Westwood.
Doctors note that early detection is the best defense against breast cancer. Both the Barbara Kort Women’s Imaging Center located near UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica and the Iris Cantor Center for Breast Imaging at UCLA’s Westwood campus are using tomosynthesis technology to produce three-dimensional mammograms.
The technology uses high-powered computing to convert digital breast images into a stack of very thin layers or “slices,” which become a 3-D mammogram, a UCLA Health spokesperson said. While digital mammography is still one of the most advanced technologies available today, it only provides a two-dimensional picture of the breast, according to UCLA Health.
Recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, tomosynthesis has been shown in clinical studies to be superior to digital mammography due to its three-dimensional view that allows doctors to see subtle differences in breast tissue by examining one layer at a time, according to UCLA Health.
Medical experts believe the cutting-edge technology can increase the number of cancers detected and lessen the need for women to be called back for additional testing.
“We are excited to have tomosynthesis for our patients because this technology allows us to distinguish subtle changes in the breast, which, in turn, can lead to improved breast cancer detection,” said Dr. Anne Hoyt, director of the Barbara Kort Women’s Imaging Center and medical director of breast imaging for UCLA.
According to UCLA Health, tomosynthesis is the preferred imaging method for patients considered at high risk, due to a family history or other risk factors. The procedure is similar to a traditional mammogram, with the technologist compressing the breast to take images from two different angles.