St. Joseph’s/Candler and the Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion join study to compare 2-D and 3-D mammography for finding breast cancers


St. Joseph’s/Candler and the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion are joining one of the largest studies on breast cancer screening performed in decades.

The Tomosynthesis Mammographic  Imaging Screening Trial (TMIST) is the first randomized trial to compare two types of digital mammography for breast cancer screening, 2-D and 3-D. Even though both are FDA-approved and in use, no one knows whether the newer technology tops conventional mammography at early detection of aggressive breast cancers. TMIST will help researchers learn about the best ways to find breast cancer in women who have no symptoms.

The study was developed by the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Data will be collected from participants over the course of five years.

St. Joseph’s/Candler began enrolling participants on Jan. 3, 2018. 




TMIST compares two Food and Drug Administration approved types of digital mammography: standard digital mammography (2-D) with new technology called tomosyntheis mammography (3-D). 2-D mammography takes pictures from two sides of the breast to create a flat image. 3-D mammography images are taken from different angles around the breast and then built into a 3-D like image.

The goal of breast cancer screening is to find breast cancer early when it may be easier to treat. Although 3-D mammography, being the newer technology, is likely to detect more findings that require follow-up, it also is likely to lead to more procedures and treatments. It is not known if this recent improvement in mammography technology is reducing the chances for women to develop a life-threatening (advanced) cancer compared with 2-D mammography. TMIST aims to find out.

Both 2-D and 3-D mammography are available at the Telfair Pavilion, located at Candler Hospital, SJ/C Imaging Center – Pooler and Telfair Breast Imaging – Eisenhower. 2-D mammography also is provided on our Mobile Mammography vehicle, St. Joseph’s Hospital Imaging and SJ/C Imaging Center – Bluffton. However, participants in the TMIST study will be Telfair Pavilion patients.

Another important aspect of the trial is to build a tissue bank for future research. All women who join the trial will be asked to submit tissue samples, such as blood and swabs from inside their mouths. Researchers hope that the information from these tissue samples will help decide the best ways to screen for breast cancer in the future by taking a person’s genetics and other personal risk factors into account.

Who can enroll in TMIST?

Healthy women ages 45 to 75 who are planning to get a routine screening mammogram are eligible for this trial. Researchers hope to get information from 165,000 participants from 100 mammography clinics in the United States and Canada, including St. Joseph’s/Candler. Patients will be told about the opportunity to enroll in the trial when they schedule a routine mammogram. Once enrolled, they will be assigned to either a 2-D or 3-D mammography screening for five years. Most women enrolled in the trial will be screened annually while postmenopausal women with no high-risk factors will be screened every two years.

During the study, the results of every mammogram from every woman will be collected, whether the mammograms are normal or not. Information about any medical follow-up, such as more imaging or a biopsy, also will be recorded. All women will be followed until the end of the study for breast cancer status, treatment and results from treatment.

Based on findings of earlier studies, TMIST researchers know that the vast majority of women in the study will not develop breast cancer. If a woman does receive a diagnosis of any kind of breast cancer while in the trial, she will receive treatment just as she would if she was not part of TMIST, while continuing to be part of the trial.

After five years in the study, researchers will continue to follow women for three years. During the follow-up period, women and their primary care doctors will decide on the type of mammogram they will have.

For more information, call 912-819-5766.

Nancy N. and J.C.
Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion
225 Candler Dr.,
Savannah, GA 31405

St. Joseph's Hospital Campus 
11705 Mercy Blvd.,
Savannah, GA 31419

Candler Hospital Campus 
5353 Reynolds St.,
Savannah, GA 31405