What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is an X-ray examination of the breast. It is used to diagnose breast disease in women who either have breast problems such as a lump, pain or nipple discharge, as well as for women who have no breast complaints. The procedure allows detection of breast cancers, benign tumors and cysts before they can be detected by touch. There are two types of mammograms: screening and diagnostic.
The recent development of digital mammography technology shows promise for improved breast imaging, in particular, for women less than 50 years of age, women with dense breast tissue or women who are premenopausal or perimenopausal. Digital mammography provides electronic images of the breasts that can be enhanced by computer technology, stored on computers and even transmitted electronically in situations where remote access to the mammogram is required. The procedure for a digital mammography is basically performed the same way as a standard mammogram.
3-D Tomosynthesis is the most up-to-date method of breast cancer screening and diagnosis. Just as with a routine mammogram, Breast Tomosynthesis images are obtained with the breast held briefly in compression. The rotating exposure lasts for approximately 10 seconds longer than a regular mammography.
The result is a stack of image slices (similar to CT scan), which provides clear breast detail, and can eliminate false positive readings caused by overlapping tissue or dense breasts. Breast Tomosynthesis has been found to improve the detection of cancer (sensitivity) and also improve lesion visibility.
Tomosynthesis is beneficial for baseline mammograms, dense breasts, a history of breast cancer and additional mammography views when appropriate.
The Women’s Imaging Center at the Medical Sciences Pavilion is excited to be one of the first in the area to provide this service.
Who should get a screening mammogram?
The American Cancer Society recommends the following screening guidelines for early detection of cancer in women who have no symptoms:
Annual mammograms starting at age 40.
A clinical breast exam should be part of a regularly scheduled health examination about every three years in a woman's twenties and thirties and every year for a woman in her forties and older.
Women should know how their breasts normally feel and report any breast change right away to their health care provider. It is a good idea for women to begin breast self-exams in their twenties.
Women who are at an increased risk (family history, genetic tendency, past breast cancer) should talk with their physicians about the benefits and limitations of starting mammography screening earlier, having additional tests (breast ultrasound, MRI) or having more frequent exams.
What is a diagnostic mammogram?
A diagnostic mammogram is used in cases when a problem is found during a screening mammogram or when a woman is having a breast problem (a lump, discharge, etc.). This exam is a more comprehensive study and may include additional views at the time of the exam to make certain there are no abnormalities. Additional views may include spot compression views or magnification views. An abnormality can prove to be something normal on closer examination with a diagnostic mammogram.
The diagnostic mammogram could also show that an abnormality is most likely benign, or not cancerous. The doctor may request you be rechecked in six months in these instances, just to be sure.
The diagnostic mammogram may suggest that a biopsy be done to find out if the abnormal area is cancerous or not. This does not mean that cancer is present. Biopsies of areas that are found to be noncancerous, or benign, make up 80 percent of the results after this procedure.
To schedule an appointment for a mammogram, click here
or call (717) 230-3700
or toll-free 1-866-455-9729.