SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

Dr. Judy Dean isn't surprised by the promising finding of the first large 3-D mammography study.  Dean has been using the technology at the Santa Barbara Woman's Imaging Center since 2012.

The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association says 3-D mammograms appear to be better at finding cancer than regular scans.

The study doesn't weigh in on whether it saves more lives but some patients think it leads to early detection that often results in better outcomes.

The study reviewed about half a million breast scans. The 3-D combo detected 15 percent fewer false alarms.

Dean said tomosynthesis software used at the center where she works also cuts down on the radiation dose.

The  3-D mammography takes X-rays at different angles to create a three-dimensional image of each breast.

It was approved for use in the United States in 2011.

3-D mammograms are currently offered in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Thousand Oaks.

For more information go to jama.jamanetwork.com or www.sbwiminging.com