Digital Mammography

Digital Mammography

Digital Mammography - CMHCommunity Memorial Hospital uses the latest state-of-the-art technology to detect and diagnose breast diseases. Screening mammography is used as a preventative measure for women who have no symptoms of breast disease. 

What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is an x-ray of the breasts used to detect and diagnose diseases of the breast.

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 a screening or with women who have breast complaints such as a breast mass, nipple discharge, breast pain, or skin irritation.

Mammography is very safe and only uses low doses of radiation to produce high quality x-rays.

Why should I have a mammogram?

Breast cancer will affect an average of one in eight women sometime in their lifetime. It is the second most common cause of cancer related deaths in women. Numerous studies have shown that early detection is a vital component in the successful treatment of breast cancer.

Who should have a mammogram?

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 an annual screening, women 40 and older and women with certain factors should discuss an appropriate screening program with their physician.

What are the risk factors for breast cancer?Pink Ribbon Facility

Some of the known risk factors include:

  • Family or personal history of breast cancer
  • Early menstrual onset / late onset of menopause
  • Use of oral contraceptives
  • Use of hormone replacement therapy
  • Alcohol use (2 or more drinks per day)

How should I prepare for a mammogram?

  • If you have had mammograms in other 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 as it may interfere with the quality of your mammogram.

How is a mammogram performed?

  • You will need to undress above the waist and will be given a wrap to wear during the mammogram.
  • You and a breast imaging technologist will be the only ones present during the mammogram. The technologist will position each breast, one at a time, on the mammography equipment. The breast will then be compressed and the x-ray will be taken.
  • The entire procedure should take about 20 minutes

Is a mammogram 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 images by:

  • Spreading out the breast so the maximum amount of tissue so the maximum amount of tissue can be examined.
  • Allowing a lower x-ray dose used, since the x-ray beams pass through a thinner amount of tissue.
  • Holding the breast in place to prevent blurring caused by motion.

If you have sensitive breasts, schedule your mammogram at a time of the month when your breasts will be less tender. In general, a week after a period is when your breasts are less tender.

Why digital?

Digital mammography uses computers and specifically 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 there is little difference between regular film and digital. For the technologists, digital mammograms produce images that appear on the technologist’s monitor in a matter of seconds. The technologist can confirm the pictures immediately which eliminates re-takes,reduces radiation, and reduces the procedure time for the patient.

Digital mammograms allow the radiologist to adjust brightness, change contrast, and zoom in for close ups of specific areas of interest. Being able to manipulate images is one of the main benefits of digital technology.

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.

Talk to your family physician if you have questions, please discuss your concerns with your family physician.

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