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Who Benefits Most from 3D Mammograms

Who Benefits Most from 3D Mammograms

The first 3D motion pictures -- called plasticons -- were created in 1889. Now Hollywood studios crank out dozens of super-dynamic 3D-films a year (Despicable Me 2, Iron Man 3, Man of Steel).

But nothing about 3D has ever been as life-changing as the way 3D in mammograms can “see” breast tissue. Digital breast tomosynthesis -- the name for these high-tech trouble-spotters -- can ID 22% more cancers and avoid many false-positives (and unnecessary biopsies, particularly among women with dense breast tissue and younger women) that result from use of conventional digital mammogram machines. And they’re potentially life saving for people with a family history of BRCA-2 breast cancer. New information reveals family members who test BRCA-2 free are still at a much-increased risk of breast cancer, compared to folks with no family history of BRCA-2. For them, mammograms need to be as accurate as possible, every time, and 3D images are just that.

Other people who might be grateful for the imaging power of tomosynthesis? Anyone with high LDL cholesterol is at increased risk for estrogen-dependent breast cancer (about 75% of breast cancers). That’s because a by-product of cholesterol acts like estrogen in the body, making folks with high cholesterol more vulnerable to breast cancer. Regular 3D-screenings can catch breast cancer at its earliest and most curable stage.

Bonus tip: If you have elevated LDL, taking a cholesterol-lowering statin and aspirin are smart ways to reduce breast cancer risk; statins reduce the estrogen-like powers of that cholesterol by-product and a daily aspirin cuts the risk by 40%!

Related: Find out your breast cancer risk now.

Medically reviewed in July 2018.

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