Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system to examine breasts. A mammography exam, called a mammogram is used to aid in the diagnosis of breast diseases in women. In addition to breast cancer, your doctor may come across other masses or structures in the breast that deserve further investigation, including calcifications (tiny flakes of calcium, like grains of salt, in the soft tissue of the breast that can sometimes indicate the presence of an early breast cancer), cysts (fluid filled masses in the breast, rarely associated with cancer), and fibroadenomas (movable, solid, rounded lumps made up of normal breast cells).
Mammograms are used as a screening tool to detect early breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms, and to detect and diagnose breast disease in women experiencing symptoms such as a lump, pain, or nipple discharge.
- Screening Mammogram: Mammography plays a central part in early detection of breast cancers because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Current guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the American College of Radiology (ACR) recommend screening mammography every year for women, beginning at age 40. Women who are at higher than average risk of breast cancer should talk with their health care providers about whether to have mammograms before age 40 and how often to have them.
- Diagnostic Mammogram: Diagnostic mammography is used to evaluate a patient with abnormal clinical findings-such as a breast lump or lumps-that have been found by the woman or her doctor. Diagnostic mammography may also be done after an abnormal screening mammography in order to determine the cause of the area of concern on the screening exam.
Recomendations from the American Cancer Society (ACS) to prepare for a mammogram:
- 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 the mammogram for the week before your period if your breasts are usually tender during this time.
- 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 mammogram as calcium deposits.
- 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.
These services can only be performed at the UGH Imaging location on 1960.