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3D mammograms

nelly3 Member Posts: 8
edited April 2022 in Benign Breast Conditions


I'm still learning to navigate I started getting 3D mammograms in 2016, thinking since they are more detailed, the mammogrms would be able to distinguish between benign and cancerous. Wrong. My last one led to a core needle ultra sound guided biopsy which was unlike my twelve other needle biopsies since age 35....I'm 73 now. Core needle is more involved. Good news that it was benign - another fibroadeonoma, same as all the others over 40 years.

However, I'm considering not getting 3D - seems as though it is a double edged sword - picks up everything but also leads to alot of anxiety and more biopsies.

Is there anyone else who is thinking the same about these 3D?




  • sarahmaude
    sarahmaude Member Posts: 338


    I am personally very pro-3D mammogram. Until my last mammogram that found my cancer, the traditional 2D versions were pretty limited for me. I've got borderline very dense breast tissue, even 8 years post menopause, and the 2D mammograms just didn't see much for me, and I was subjected to call backs and false positives.

    With the 3D version, it was correct in seeing the cancer in my left breast, and per the follow up testing (ultrasound and breast MRI) it correctly assessed my healthy right breast.

    I will say that for certain breast features, no imaging is going to be able to 100% differentiate between a tumorous mass and a fibroadenoma. I agree that core needle biopsy isn't fun, but it's accurate, and in your case, the process worked. Something was seen, it was assessed, and now you know that the image caught on ultrasound and mammogram was benign.

    So, for me, I will continue to encourage women to go for 3D mammograms. Even though it may see something benign, I'm more confident in that technology than the older 2D mammography.

  • harley07
    harley07 Member Posts: 302

    Nelly - I pretty much echo what Sarahmaude said. I'm not aware of any imaging that can 100% discern benign vs malignant findings. My understanding is that only the biopsy can determine that.

    I've declined my MO's offer of an annual MRI in addition to an annual mammogram. Given that I'm turning 65 this year, I'm considering skipping all imaging this year and perhaps getting a mammogram every 2 or 3 years as long as I have no symptoms such as a palpable lump, swelling, lesion etc.

    I may get kicked off the forum for saying this, but I'm a firm believer that BC is over diagnosed and over treated in someone my age.

    Perhaps you can discuss options with your doctor as they know your situation best.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,933


    I can’t imagine that the mods would kick you off of bco for expressing an opinion, and neither should you. After being a member for 10 years I can comfortably say that members are rarely “kicked off” and the offense would have to be far greater than an opinion. That being said I will disagree with your statement that bc is over diagnosed. If cancer is present, biopsy proven, then that’s the dx! If you are referring to DCIS as being a pre-cancer, while that might be true (some debate here as it’s not invasive), it still merits removal. As to further tx, there are varying views on that if one has pure DCIS. If you are speaking to invasive bc, depending on the individual circumstances, treatments can vary greatly. Breast cancer is far from one disease, i.e. there are many variables that drive treatment decisions, so I find it difficult to agree that there is over treatment. Were you referring to DCIS when you mentioned over treatment and what were you referring to when you said over diagnosis (Are you saying the biopsies are yielding false positives?)?

  • harley07
    harley07 Member Posts: 302

    exbrnxgrl - I am not nor would I tell someone else what to do. I do not believe that my BC would have had a significant impact on my life span if left untreated given my age, stage and grade. While my MO didn't exactly agree, neither did she dispute it. However, once I had the diagnosis of IDC, I felt I had to have it removed. At this point going forward, I'd rather not know. Now I have lymphedema along with memories of a terrible experience with the RO. I know it's not healthy, but the humiliation affects my mental health to this day.

    The book “The Harm We Do" by Otis Brawley is an interesting read. IMO BC has become an industry with a great deal of fear and money created around it. I feel we don't use our healthcare resources wisely in the U.S. There are many people who need healthcare to stay alive. I just don't think I'm one of them.

    I won't comment on pure DCIS because I didn't have it, know it's controversial and is an individual choice. One example that stands out me is a coworker's mother who was diagnosed with a very small, early stage mucinous carcinoma and under went a bilateral lumpectomy and used an AI for 6 months. My co-workerwas frantic that she would die from BC. I see it differently - she was 92 and had heart problems. Undergoing anesthesia at that age can affect cognition. Bottom line is that we will all die of something eventually. Should I live to 92, I don't see myself making the same choice.

    My apologies to the OP as I have gone way off track on this topic.

  • nelly3
    nelly3 Member Posts: 8

    I can relate to your thinking. I understand "defensive" medicine. Hence, continual biopsies. And in all fairness, they are just doing their job.

    So I've decided to have a conversation in six months with the radiologist about frequency of images at age 73. None of us are going to live forever and for me do I want to spend the last quarter of my life in anxiety, worry and treatments that lower quality of life.

    Thanks for responding,