Cutting-edge 3D breast imaging now in all Reading and Assessment Services

Pictured above: Gippsland Chief Radiographer Stephanie Tamblyn.

Cutting-edge 3D breast screening technology is now available at all our assessment clinics. 

A $2 million funding commitment from the Victorian Government has seen new, advanced breast screening machines rolled out across BreastScreen Victoria's Reading and Assessment Services (RAS) since June 2020. All of our assessment clinics now provide tomosynthesis technology, also called 3D mammography. 

Tomosynthesis is an imaging technique that takes a 3D image by taking multiple pictures of the breast instead of a 2D image. It can increase the accuracy of a mammogram by improving the ability to see through layers of overlapping tissue that can mask tumours or benign changes that can mimic a tumour. Tomosynthesis is most effectively used for clients called back for further tests (an assessment appointment). It provides more detailed readings used in assessment to check an area of concern.  

Pictured above: North Western BreastScreen Chief Radiographer Natalie Gilbert and Radiographers Cathrine Titley and Sheryl Launer; Grampians BreastScreen Chief Radiographer Sue Ross.

Staff have welcomed the tomosynthesis machines with open arms. Kathryn Carman, Program Manager at Bendigo BreastScreen, hailed its benefits. 

"The new tomosynthesis Revelation mammography unit has provided benefits to clients returning to assessment, who now undergo 3D imaging, with a faster, low radiation dose," Kathryn said. "The Revelation is not only ergonomic for staff, but has specially designed paddles to help reduce discomfort levels, and is tailored to accommodate our diverse range of clients."  

Clients have already seen the benefits of tomosynthesis technology.  

"By using multiple images of the breast, 3D imaging provides additional information for radiologists, which can assist with differentiating between breast lesions and normal breast structures," Kathryn explained. "We have subsequently seen a reduction in the number of biopsy procedures required with the introduction of this machine."  

Julie Foat, Program Manager at Gippsland BreastScreen, said she is grateful for the funding from the state government. 

"This technology will assist with cancer detection and reduce unnecessary biopsies, particularly for borderline lesions where the radiologist can get a clearer picture on whether a lesion is benign or potentially malignant without having to biopsy," she said. 

Pictured above: Bendigo BreastScreen Radiographer Kylie Kent and Gippsland Radiographer Maria Bernthal.

BreastScreen Victoria CEO Terri Smith said the technology would help cut down on invasive procedures.  

"By providing more detailed images, tomosynthesis in assessment will allow clients to avoid further unnecessary tests and get their results quicker, helping to reduce wait time and stress," she said. 

Terri added that BreastScreen Victoria is currently supporting research to understand the benefits and risks of tomosynthesis in screening.