Dr Oz: 3 Alternatives to Mammograms: Tomosynthesis & Digital Mammography

Dr Oz did a segment on Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS), and then he discussed three alternatives to mammograms.  Doctor Oz said that for over 30 years, mammograms have been the “gold standard” for detecting breast cancer, but now we also have three alternatives.  Dr Oz’s guest, Dr Ruth Oratz, said that if possible, you should try to go to a center that specializes in breast imaging and where they are familiar with other forms of breast imaging.  You can use your computer and the Internet to check out different locations and to gather data on how many cases they do each year… you want someone who looks at thousands of cases each year, not hundreds. Dr Oz Tomosynthesis

Digital Mammography

Dr Oz showed a film mammography image and a digital mammography image, both show the picture of the breast, but you can see more details in the Digital Mammogram.  Digital Mammography is best for women under 50, because they tend to have more dense breast tissue which can be harder to find tumors in old film mammograms.  Another benefit of Digital Mammograms is that they are digital and online, so they cannot get lost and therefore can be used to compare previous images from previous years.  Dr Oratz said that for women without dense breast tissue, like if you are over age 50, a standard mammogram can still give a good image.  I personally would rather get a digital mammogram though, even if I was over 50, too much detail can’t hurt!

Ultrasound vs Mammogram

Dr Oz said that the pros of an ultrasound is that they are painless and do not have radiation.  However, ultrasounds do not replace mammograms.  Ultrasounds are mainly helpful for targeting an area that you want to hone in on, but it is not as good for overall screening.

Breast Tomosynthesis

Dr Oz said that with a Breast Tomosynthesis, you can see the breast from all sides and multiple angles, resulting in fewer unclear images.  Tomosynthesis is already used in dozens of countries around the world and it will hopefully soon be approved in America too.

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