The Benefits of 3D Mammography

In recent years, the field of breast cancer screening has seen significant advancements, particularly with the introduction of 3D mammography. This innovative technology offers numerous benefits over traditional mammograms, providing more accurate and detailed images that can lead to earlier and more reliable detection of breast cancer. For women in Melbourne, understanding the advantages of 3D mammography and knowing where to access these services can make a substantial difference in their health outcomes.

 Understanding 3D Mammography

3D mammography, or digital breast tomosynthesis, is an advanced form of breast imaging that creates a three-dimensional picture of the breast. Unlike traditional 2D mammograms, which take images from two angles, 3D mammography captures multiple breast slices from different angles. These slices are then reconstructed into a 3D image, allowing radiologists to examine the breast tissue layer by layer.

 Key Benefits of 3D Mammography

1. Improved Detection Rates

One of the most significant benefits of 3D mammography is its ability to detect breast cancer more effectively. Studies have shown that 3D mammograms can increase breast cancer detection rates by 27-50% compared to traditional 2D mammograms. The enhanced accuracy is particularly beneficial for women with dense breast tissue, where traditional mammograms might miss small tumours.

2. Reduced Callbacks

False positives are a common issue with 2D mammograms, leading to unnecessary stress and additional testing for many women. 3D mammography reduces the rate of callbacks by up to 40%, providing more precise and more detailed images and helping radiologists distinguish between benign and suspicious areas more accurately.

3. Better Visualization of Abnormalities

The detailed images produced by 3D mammography allow radiologists to see abnormalities more clearly. This technology can reveal a tumour’s size, shape, and location with greater precision, aiding in more accurate diagnoses and better-informed treatment decisions.

4. Enhanced Detection in Dense Breasts

Women with dense breast tissue face higher risks of breast cancer, and traditional mammograms can be less effective for them. 3D mammography’s ability to see through dense tissue provides a significant advantage, ensuring that cancers are detected earlier and treated more effectively.

 Accessing 3D Mammography in Melbourne

Melbourne has numerous healthcare facilities offering state-of-the-art breast imaging services, including 3D mammography. Here’s a guide to finding and accessing these services:


1. Major Hospitals and Medical Centers

Many of Melbourne’s leading hospitals and medical centers have 3D mammography technology. Institutions like the Royal Melbourne Hospital, St Vincent’s Hospital, and Epworth HealthCare provide comprehensive breast imaging services, including 3D mammograms. These facilities are staffed with experienced radiologists and technicians specialising in breast health.

2. Specialized Breast Clinics

Dedicated breast clinics like BreastScreen Victoria offer specialized services focusing exclusively on breast health. BreastScreen Victoria, a government-funded program, provides free mammograms for women aged 50-74. While their primary offering is 2D mammograms, they increasingly incorporate 3D mammography to improve detection rates.

3. Private Imaging Centers

Several private imaging centers across Melbourne offer 3D mammography. Clinics such as I-MED Radiology Network and Melbourne Radiology Clinic provide advanced breast imaging services with minimal wait times and the convenience of multiple locations. These centres often accept referrals from general practitioners and specialists, making it easy to schedule a 3D mammogram.

Preparing for Your 3D Mammogram

Preparing for a 3D mammogram in Melbourne involves several simple steps to ensure a smooth and practical experience:

1. Schedule Your Appointment

Contact your chosen imaging center or clinic to book an appointment. Ensure you inform them if you have breast implants or if you are experiencing any breast symptoms, as this may influence the imaging process.

2. Avoid Deodorants and Lotions

On the day of your mammogram, avoid using deodorants, lotions, or powders on your breasts or underarms, as these products can interfere with the image quality.

3. Wear Comfortable Clothing

Opt for a two-piece outfit, as you must undress from the waist up for the mammogram. This choice makes the process more convenient and comfortable.

4. Bring Previous Records

If you have had previous mammograms, bring the images or ensure that your current clinic has access to them. Comparing past and present images can help radiologists more effectively identify any changes or abnormalities.


The introduction of 3D mammography has revolutionized breast cancer screening, offering numerous benefits such as improved detection rates, reduced callbacks, and better visualization of abnormalities. For women in Melbourne, accessing this advanced technology is easier than ever, with many hospitals, specialized clinics, and private imaging centers offering 3D mammograms. By understanding the advantages and knowing where to go, women can take proactive steps towards better breast health, ensuring early detection and more effective treatment of breast cancer.

Embracing 3D mammography can significantly enhance the accuracy and reliability of breast scans, providing peace of mind and a higher standard of care for women across Melbourne. Whether through public programs or private clinics, the accessibility of this technology ensures that all women can benefit from the latest advancements in breast imaging.