A New Ally in the Fight Against Breast Cancer
What is Full Field Digital Mammography?
Digital mammography uses computers and specially designed digital detectors to produce an image that can be displayed on a high-resolution computer monitor, and transmitted and stored just like computer files.
From a patient’s point of view, having a digital mammogram is very much like having a conventional screen-film mammogram. Both film-based and digital mammography use compression and x-rays to create clear images of the inside of the breast. During all mammography exams, the technologist positions the patient to image the breast from different angles and compresses the breast with a paddle to obtain optimal image quality.
Unlike film-based mammography, digital mammograms produce images that appear on the technologist’s monitor in a matter of seconds. There is no waiting for film to develop, which can mean a shorter time spent in the breast imaging suite.
The Benefits of Digital Mammography
What is a Mammogram?
A mammogram is an x-ray examination of the breasts, used to detect and diagnose breast diseases. Screening mammography is used as a preventive measure for women who have no symptoms of breast disease. A screening mammogram usually involves two views of each breast.
Diagnostic mammography involves additional views of the breast, and is used when an abnormality is found during screening, or in women who have breast complaints, such as a breast mass, nipple discharge, breast pain, or skin irritation.
Mammography is a very safe procedure that uses low doses of radiation to produce high-quality x-rays.
Are There Different Kinds of Mammograms?
Two kinds of mammograms are available;
In screen-film mammography, x-ray beams are captured on a film cassette. The film is then developed, and a physician who specializes in the interpretation of x-rays and other types of diagnostic imaging studies, reviews the films on a high-intensity light box.
In digital mammography, x-ray beams are captured on specially designed digital detectors. The digital detector converts the x-ray beams into electronic signals, which are then sent to a computer. The radiologist can review the digital mammogram on a high-resolution computer monitor.
Who Should Have Mammograms?
The American Cancer Society recommends that all women have a baseline screening mammogram between the age of 35 and 40 and that beginning at the age of 40, women have an annual screening mammogram.
In addition to annual screening for women 40 and older, women with certain risk factors should discuss an appropriate screening program with their physician.
Risk Factors For Breast Cancer
Some of the known risk factors for breast cancer include:
How Should I Prepare for a Mammogram?
If you have had mammograms in different facilities, call those facilities in advance and arrange to have your previous mammograms, reports and any other treatment reports forwarded.
Do not wear deodorant, powder or cream under your arms it may interfere with the quality of your mammogram.
How is Mammography Performed?
The entire procedure should take about 20 minutes.
Are Mammograms Painful?
Breast compression may cause some discomfort for a brief time during each x-ray, but it should not be painful.
Breast compression helps obtain better x-rays by:
If you have sensitive breasts, schedule your mammogram at a time of the month when your breasts will be less tender. In general, the week after a eriod is when breasts are less tender.
How Will I Get My Results?
Your mammogram will be read by a radiologist. The radiologist will send a report to your physician and your physician will notify you of the results.
Be sure to ask your physician when you will receive the results of your mammogram. If you do not hear from your physician, don’t assume your mammogram was normal. Confirm this by calling your physician’s office.
Early Detection is the Key
Although there has been a decline in the rate of deaths from breast cancer in recent years, it is still the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer. Studies have shown that, when detected early, the chance for successful treatment of breast cancer is nearly 100%.
Methods for early detection of breast cancer include clinical examinations by a healthcare professional and mammography. In most cases, mammography can identify an abnormal breast mass as much as two years before it can be detected by touch.
Some physicians also recommend a monthly breast self-examination for all women beginning at the age of 20, following proper training by a qualified healthcare professional.
Because our primary goal has always been to deliver the highest quality care to our patients, we have added digital mammography to our women’s health diagnostic services.
We have chosen a Lorad® Selenia™
digital mammography system because we believe that it offers the best technology available. Please call our office to your schedule your