Tests and Procedures

3D mammogram


A 3D mammogram is a safe procedure. As with every test, it carries certain risks and limitations, such as:

  • Exposure to a low level of radiation. A 3D mammogram uses X-rays to create an image of the breast, which exposes you to a low level of radiation. Because a 3D mammogram is usually combined with a standard mammogram, the level of radiation may be greater than a standard mammogram alone. Some newer 3D mammogram machines can create both 3D and 2D images at the same time, which lowers the amount of radiation.
  • The test may find something that turns out to not be cancer. A 3D mammogram may identify an abnormality that, after additional tests, turns out to be benign or consistent with normal tissue. This is known as a false-positive result, and it can cause unneeded anxiety if you undergo additional imaging and testing, such as a biopsy, to further assess the suspicious area.
  • The test can't detect all cancers. It's possible for a 3D mammogram to miss an area of cancer, such as if the cancer is very small or if it's in an area that's difficult to see.