Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, and when it comes to finding cancer—the sooner the better.
There has been some debate in the women’s health community about what the right age is for women to start undergoing breast cancer screenings. Many recommend that women of higher risk (which includes women with a parent, sibling or child with breast cancer) develop a screening plan with their healthcare provider. Having a screening plan dependent on a patient’s risk will not only detect cancer sooner—it will ease patient fears.
But despite the debate over what age women should start receiving screenings—one thing has remained the same—mammography is still the gold standard for detecting breast cancer and the technology continues to improve.
Newer advancements in breast cancer screening, like Siemens 3D digital breast tomosynthesis—which was recently approved by the FDA as the first stand-alone screening and diagnostic system-—improve early detection and reduce false positive results.
In fact, in a recent reader study comparing 3D-only exams to 2D exams, radiologists were able to increase detection of breast cancer at a lower radiation dose. The study also revealed that average recall rates were decreased by up to 19 percent without the need for a 2D image.
In addition, recent reports also show that digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) could cut health costs for both the payer and patient communities.
By reducing recalls and detecting breast cancer in its earlier stages, DBT could save millions of dollars in healthcare costs if it were added to mammography for annual breast cancer screenings.
Even though a DBT screening may be more expensive than a traditional 2D mammogram, the cost savings by the reduction in recalls (37 percent compared to conventional mammography for certain types of breast abnormalities) and follow-up procedures outweighs the extra exam costs. In the long run, earlier detection using DBT may also reduce patient costs—such as additional co-payments, deductibles, and indirect costs like work absences.
It’s exciting to see how new technology is helping us detect cancer sooner than ever before, but in a time where every healthcare penny counts—the cost savings is essential.
Click here to learn more about early detection with DBT.