Mammography is imaging of the internal structure of the breast. A mammogram may help in the diagnosis of breast problems including cancer and is the most effective method available for detecting such issues.
3D mammography is a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic tool designed for early breast cancer detection that can be done in conjunction with a
traditional 2D digital mammogram.
During the 3D part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over your breast, taking multiple breast images. Then, a computer produces a 3D image of your breast tissue in one millimeter slices, providing greater visibility for the radiologist to see breast detail in a way never before possible. They can scroll through images of your entire breast like pages of a book.
The additional 3D images make it possible for a radiologist to gain a better understanding of your breast tissue during a screening mammogram and the confidence to reduce the need for follow-up imaging.
Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI) is a process to further define an inconclusive mammogram and ultimately aides in faster and more precise diagnosis.
BSGI is a valuable tool when mammography cannot answer all the questions and further evaluation is needed. Situations where BSGI is especially valuable include: suspicious areas on a mammogram, dense breasts, lumps that can be felt but not seen with mammography, implants and breast augmentation or scarring from previous surgeries.
While other modalities, such as Ultrasound and MRI capture the physical structure of the breast, BSGI specifically determines the cellular functioning of the breast tissue, verifying an area of concern.
Before your appointment
We require that you see your family medicine physician before scheduling a mammogram.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) and other specialty organizations recommend that, prior to scheduling a mammogram you discuss any new findings or problems in your breasts with your physician. 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 for a mammogram is one week following your period. Always inform your doctor or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that you are pregnant.
The ACS also recommends you:
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 mammogram as calcifications in the breast tissue.
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.
Ask when your results will be available; do not assume the results are normal if you do not hear from your doctor or the mammography facility.
Screening refers to exams and tests to find a disease in people who don't show any symptoms. The goal of a screening mammogram is to find cancer early. The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed and treated, the more successful the treatment outcomes.
Click here for the anatomy of breast cancer.
Schedule a breast exam by your healthcare professional at least every three years, along with performing breast self-exams each month. Performing self exams will help you become familiar with how your breasts normally look and feel and will help you notice any changes. Let your healthcare provider know right away about any changes you detect. If you have a family history of breast cancer, it is important to discuss this with your healthcare provider as that may change the recommendations for you.
Schedule a breast exam by your healthcare provider every year as well as an annual mammogram. Breast self-exams should also be performed each month so you are familiar with how your breasts normally look and feel. Some breast lumps and changes are normal, but it is important to report any changes to your healthcare provider right away.
No matter what age you are, by doing a regular breast exam, you may be able to notice a variety of changes in the composition of your breasts, breast tissue or surrounding breast area including:
A lump, hard knot or thickening
Swelling or warmth in part of the breast
Changes in the size or shape
Skin irritation, redness or dimpling/puckering of the skin
Nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
Nipple discharge other than breast milk
Redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin
Lump in the underarm area
New pain in one spot that does not go away
If you notice any of the above changes, it is important to see your healthcare provider immediately.