What Is The Best Way To Protect Myself?Early detection is your best protection. Close to 90 percent of breast cancers can be detected early, when they are most treatable. All three of the following methods should be used.
- Monthly breast self-examination
- Yearly physical examinations of your breasts by a physician
- Mammography according to the American Cancer Society guidelines:
- Baseline by age 40
- Age 40-49 every 1 to 2 years
- Over age 50 - every year
What is Mammography?
Mammography is a low-energy x-ray of the breast taken to detect breast disease. A mammogram can detect breast cancer up to two years before it can be felt. Early detection of cancer increases effective treatment options and the possibility of a cure. Mammography has been proven to detect cancer earlier than physical exam alone.
The Breast Diagnostic Center uses low-dose film and equipment of the latest technical standards. This ensures that you will receive the highest quality examination at the lowest possible radiation level. The benefits of mammography outweigh the minimal risk of radiation exposure.
How Should I Prepare For The Exam?
Before scheduling a mammogram, we recommend that you discuss any new findings or problems in your breasts with your doctor. In addition, inform your doctor of any prior surgeries, hormone use, and family or personal history of breast cancer.
Do not schedule your mammogram for the week before your period if your breasts are usually tender during this time. The best time is one week following your period. Also inform us if there is any possibility that you are pregnant.
- Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder, or lotion under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the exam. These can appear on the x-ray film as calcium spots
- Describe any breast symptoms or problems to the technologist performing the exam.
- If possible, obtain prior mammograms and make them available to the radiologist at the time of the current exam.
What Does The Mammography Equipment Look Like?
A mammography unit is a rectangular box that houses the tube in which x-rays are produced. The unit is dedicated equipment because it is used exclusively for x-ray exam of the breast, with special accessories that allow only the breast to be exposed to the x-rays. Attached to the unit is a device that holds and compresses the breast and positions it so images can be obtained at different angles.
How Does The Procedure Work?
The breast is exposed to a small dose of radiation to produce an image of internal breast tissue. The images produced as a result of some of the x-rays being absorbed (attenuation) while others pass through the breast to expose the film. The exposed film is placed in a developing machine-producing images much like the negatives from a 35mm camera.
What Is R2 ImageChecker And Why Does Breast Diagnostic Center Use This Technology?
The R2 ImageChecker is the first FDA approved Computer Aided Detection (CAD) System for mammography. The Breast Diagnostic enter uses the CAD System to assist our radiologist by digitizing and analyzing mammograms for suspicious regions that may be indicative of cancer. Many breast cancers are so subtle they do not appear on a mammogram. Further analysis using the CAD System on average will increase cancer detection by 15-20%.
Other Screening Exams Available:
DEXA Bone Densitometry
What is Breast Sonography?
It is a painless ultrasound procedure where the breasts are scanned with high frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the breast tissue. Ultrasound testing allows the radiologist to determine whether a lump is solid tissue or a fluid-filled cyst.
Very dense breasts can often be seen better with ultrasound than with mammography. Exams for young patients and certain follow-up exams will be done primarily with ultrasound. As with the mammogram, your test results will be sent to your referring physician.
What is DEXA Bone Densitometry?
DEXA bone densitometry is used most often to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition that often affects women after menopause. Not only is the DEXA test vital in assessing your risk for developing fractures, DEXA is also effective in tracking the effects of treatment for osteoporosis, or for other conditions that cause bone loss.