BreastScreen Victoria statement on tomosynthesis
BreastScreen Victoria welcomes research from a Lund University major screening study in Sweden that tomosynthesis (3D mammography) detects 40% more breast cancers than traditional 2D mammography.
Currently, BreastScreen uses two-view digital mammography as the primary test to screen women for breast cancer as at this time, 2D mammography remains the only proven technology for screening healthy women aged 50 to 74 years for breast cancer in Australia. Tomosynthesis is a new digital mammography technology that is in the early stages of testing and clinical evaluation of its possible benefits in population screening and assessment programs.
BreastScreen Victoria CEO Vicki Pridmore said tomosynthesis had produced highly promising results in a recent Victorian trial when used in the post-screening assessment of breast cancer. A second Victorian study is currently underway to further understand the costs and benefits associated with broader implementation.
"The results of the Swedish study look very promising, but the study has also raised important considerations such as a reported increase in recall rates, meaning healthy women with benign conditions were recalled for further testing," Ms Pridmore said.
Ms Pridmore agrees with the researchers comments that a five to ten year timeframe is probably necessary to answer the questions raised by the study.
BreastScreen advises that women should continue to feel confident that having a free mammogram every two years with BreastScreen as recommended will give them the best chance of detecting and surviving breast cancer.
Any decision to endorse the use of tomosynthesis in BreastScreen assessment services will be taken nationally by BreastScreen Australia, on the advice of the Federal Government’s Standing Committee on Screening. Rollout will then be subject to the timelines and funding capacities of individual states and territories.