Screening x-ray mammography is performed to detect breast cancers when they are small and before a lump has formed. The current standard screening mammogram (2DDM) is a two dimensional image and its accuracy is limited because normal tissues overlap – this means that some cancers may not be seen. Conversely, normal overlapping tissues may cause an appearance which looks suspicious for cancer, leading to recall for further tests and the associated extra stress and worry.

Tomosynthesis (DBT) is a new method of obtaining x-ray images of the breast which can be performed at the same time as the standard mammograms. It uses a computer to provide three dimensional information which overcomes some of the problems caused by the appearance of normal tissue on standard mammograms. Synthetic 2D mammogram images (S2D) are generated by a computer from the tomosynthesis images and look similar to a standard mammogram.

The purpose of this study is to measure the effect of tomosynthesis imaging on the accuracy of mammography and to assess the cost of implementing tomosynthesis imaging in routine screening practice. The mammography equipment being used in this study is produced by one manufacturer and has been shown in studies conducted in the UK and abroad to produce images which improve the accuracy of mammography.

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