Image Quality Improvement and Breast Compression Reduction in Breast Cancer Screening with Digital Breast Tomosynthesis

Breast cancer is the most prevalent non-skin cancer in women in the US. To increase the early detection of breast cancer, annual screening mammography has been recommended for asymptomatic patients. Digital tomosynthesis of the breast is a novel x-ray based tomographic imaging technique being investigated to replace mammography for the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. However, in current implementations of breast tomosynthesis, the breast undergoes the same vigorous compression as that used in mammography. It has been shown that the pain resulting from this vigorous breast compression during mammography is an important factor in the decision-making process for women who choose not to undergo the recommended annual screening mammography. The objective of this research project is to develop and test new image acquisition and processing techniques that will allow for the acquisition of breast tomosynthesis images with a substantial reduction in the amount of breast compression used with no loss in image quality or increase in radiation dose.

Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health

Grant Type: R01

Funding Period: 09/15/11-08/31/14

Figure 1

Improved image quality of simulated lesions in tomosynthesis images of breast phantoms after x-ray scatter correction.