Great news for all women out there especially those concerned about breast cancer. New technology is being developed to increase the detection rate of spots that could eventually develop into tumors and then the dreaded breast cancer, by breast imaging experts at the Emory University at Atlanta.
Mammograms are two-dimensional, flat pictures of a surface that’s simply not flat. When technicians literally smush women’s breasts into the mammography unit, they’re trying to spread the tissue out so less is hidden from the X-ray. “Stereo mammograms” allow radiologists to see those X-ray images in 3-D, so that a small spot on the bottom might not be hidden by normal tissue laying over it.
We have depth perception because each eye gets a slightly different view, allowing your brain to construct a 3-D view when it overlays the two, explains Dr. Newell at Emory. That’s the concept behind stereoscopes, gadgets that help people see pictures in 3-D like the old cartoons of a View-Master.
Stereo mammograms, being developed by Cambridge, Mass.-based BBN Technologies, work essentially the same way. Separate X-rays are taken at slightly different angles. Then radiologists wear glasses that make each eye see a separate image on special monitors. The brain “reads” that as a single, 3-D view.
When this new 3-D mammograms or stereo mammograms become widespread or even standard in hospitals across the globe, women could say goodbye to painful and and sometimes less accurate old method of getting a mammogram. With a reported 23 percent increase in detection rate and a 46 percent decrease in false-alarms, this new technology is truly promising and will boost the fight against cancer.