A 3D imaging process that can detect breast cancer in its early stages has been developed by Hologic.

Breast tomosynthesis allows radiologists to see multiple slices of a breast, improving the chances of finding tumours hidden in overlapping tissue.

The technology uses a five-second scan to take a number of low-dose images, which are then reconstructed into a series of high-resolution slices by computer.

This reduces the problems caused by tissue overlap and structure noise.

A clinical trial comparing breast tomosynthesis with conventional digital mammography is currently being conducted at the Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center in Houston, US.

Breast tomosynthesis is available in Europe and Canada, but has not yet received US Food and Drug Adminstration approval.

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