In a new study presented today at the European Breast Cancer Conference in Amsterdam, researchers have suggested that adding either tomosynthesis (a form of 3D mammography) or ultrasound scans to standard mammograms could detect breast cancers that would have been missed in women with dense breasts.
The research, published today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, found that in over 3,000 women with dense breasts where standard mammograms had not detected any cancer, the addition of tomosynthesis or ultrasound scans picked up an extra 24 cancers.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:
“We know that mammography is less effective at detecting breast cancer in women with dense breasts and this new evidence reinforces the urgent need to consider how these women can be best served by the NHS Breast Screening Programme.
“Over 700,000 women in the UK are estimated to have high breast density, putting them at an increased risk of breast cancer and making it more difficult for standard mammography to detect abnormalities.
“That said, there are significant risks involved with tomosynthesis and ultrasound techniques that must be considered, particularly around false positives, as well as the cost, resource and training that would be required.
“We hope the emerging studies will highlight the best way for women to be given more information about their breast density and reinvigorate debate around how we can ensure these women have the best chance of having cancers found early.”