This summary table contains detailed information about research studies. Summary tables are a useful way to look at the science behind many breast cancer guidelines and recommendations. However, to get the most out of the tables, it’s important to understand some key concepts. Learn how to read a research table.
Introduction: Special imaging machines can take multiple 2-dimensional (2D) digital images of the breast. Computer software combines the 2D X-ray images into a 3-dimensional (3D) image (called breast tomosynthesis).
Some studies have shown 3D mammography may find a few more breast cancers than 2D mammography [1-5]. Whether 3D mammography is better than standard 2D mammography for breast cancer screening is still under study [1-5].
Learn more about 3D mammography.
Learn about breast cancer screening recommendations for women at average risk.
The main goal of any cancer screening test is to correctly identify everyone who has cancer (called the sensitivity of the test). For example, a sensitivity of 90 percent means 90 percent of people tested who truly have cancer are correctly identified as having cancer.
An ideal cancer screening test would also be able to correctly identify all the people who don't have cancer as not having it (called the specificity of the test). For example, a specificity of 90 percent means 90 percent of the people who are healthy are correctly identified as not having cancer.
When sensitivity is high, the test picks up even the slightest abnormal finding. Very few cases are missed, but the test will mistake some healthy people as having cancer when they don’t (called a false positive result).
When specificity is high, there are fewer false positive results, but more cases of true cancer are missed.
No screening test has perfect sensitivity and perfect specificity. There's a trade-off between the two for all types of screening tests. That is, when a test gains sensitivity, it loses some specificity.
Learn more about the quality of screening tests.
Study selection criteria: Clinical trials with at least 100 cases of invasive breast cancer cases.
Table note: The studies presented below compare sensitivity and specificity for screening with 2D digital mammography plus 3D digital mammography vs. screening with 2D digital mammography alone.
At this time, there are no data comparing survival among women who had 2D digital mammography versus those who had 3D digital mammography (alone or in combination with 2D digital mammography).
NS = No statistically significant difference between the 2 groups
Sig = Statistically significant difference between the 2 groups
* Included an additional 76 cases of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
Discover the different ways you can help