Mammography is a key tool for helping your physician to detect breast cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages.
We use state-of-the-art equipment (including 3D mammography), which has been shown to better detect breast cancer in younger women (under age 50), those with dense breast tissue, and those nearing menopause. Our compassionate, highly trained radiology team performs more than 60,000 digital mammograms a year.
When do I need a mammogram screening?
You should talk to your primary care or women's health provider at age 40 about a breast cancer risk assessment. Discuss risks and benefits of screening mammography, and together decide if it makes sense for you to have one at age 40. You should begin screening no later than age 50 if you deferred starting at 40.
Once you start screening mammograms, you should have one every one to two years at a minimum, waiting no more than two years in between.
There is no upper age limit for healthy, active women. You should stop screening based on your overall health and life expectancy; if you wouldn't proceed with a diagnostic workup and treatment if a problem were detected, you should stop screening.
Women who are at high risk based on family history or personal history are excluded from these recommendations. In this case, your doctor will recommend a screening schedule.
What is a 3D Mammogram?
3D mammography (also called breast tomosynthesis or "tomo") is an FDA-approved breast imaging technology that uses the same x-rays as regular 2D mammograms. In both 3D and 2D mammograms, the breast is compressed between two plates but where 2D mammograms take images only from the front and side, 3D mammograms takes multiple images or "slices" of the breast from many different angles to create a three-dimensional picture of the breast.
These "slices" can reduce images with overlapping breast tissue and give doctors a clearer image of the breast tissue. Using 3D mammography can make it easier for doctors to catch breast cancer early and reduce the chances of false positive results.
Talk to your doctor to see if 3D mammography is right for you. Because 3D mammograms may not be covered by all insurance plans, contact your insurance provider before your appointment.
What is a digital mammogram?
Digital mammography is a type of imaging that uses low-dose X-rays to capture clear, accurate breast images on a computer screen or special film.
Mammograms are important because they can detect early stage breast cancer, even if you have no symptoms. They can even find changes in your breasts up to two years before you or your physician would be able to feel these changes (such as a lump).
Mammograms are also used in detecting and diagnosing women with a lump, pain, or nipple discharge.
Our digital mammography technology
Our team uses the Selenia™ digital system, manufactured by Hologic, which provides high-resolution images in excellent clarity and detail. This technology represents a major advancement in breast imaging technology in our area.
We also use a sophisticated computer-aided (CAD) program to interpret your mammogram. This software allows our radiologists to mark potential concern spots, which are then reviewed again to determine if further evaluation is needed. CAD programs have been shown to significantly improve the accuracy of breast cancer detection.
Mammogram benefits and limitations
Mammograms are the only proven method for detecting certain types of abnormal growths in the breasts. Because they can detect very small growths, they can catch breast cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages.
While a mammogram uses radiation, no radiation will remain in your body after the exam and you should not experience any side effects. We take extra care to use the lowest radiation dose possible.
Most mammograms find that breast tissue is normal. Five to 15 percent of women who receive a mammogram will require a follow-up exam or biopsy for further evaluation.
While mammograms are the best tool for detecting breast cancer, they do not detect all breast cancers.
Our computerized tracking program
If you have had a mammogram at one of our facilities, your information will be entered into a secure, computerized tracking system. Our tracking staff will follow up with you as needed and periodically will review the data we collect from our patients and compare it to national standards.