Mammography is the use of xrays to find cancer in the breast tissues. Screening mammograms consist of 2 basic views of each breast. Compression is used to flatten the breast tissue so that the maximum amount of the breast can be imaged. Compression increases image detail and also decreases radiation dose to the patient. Compression does not damage breast tissue in any way and does not cause any long-term discomfort.
Mammogram images are then sent to the Radiologist who reads the exam, comparing the recent exam to all previous exams done in the past, looking for any changes or new developments. Occasionally the Radiologist will ask for additional views, to better see some areas of the screening mammogram. This request for additional images does not automatically mean that there is a cancer; it just means that there is an area that the Radiologist wants to see better or differently. This is common, especially if there are no previous exams for comparison.
Annual screening mammograms should start at age 40 for women with no family history or current problems in the breasts. If a women has a family history of breast cancer (Mother, daughter, sister, Aunt, Grandmother, cousin, niece) then she is recommended to have a baseline mammogram done 10 years prior to the age of the family member’s diagnosis (but not earlier than age 25 and not later than age 40). If a woman has pain or feels an abnormality in her breasts, she should immediately schedule a clinical breast exam with a healthcare provider. If necessary, a diagnostic mammogram may be ordered.
The traditional 2D mammogram takes a look at all the breast tissue at a glance, like looking at the cover of a book. The new 3D mammography shows the breast tissue in thin 1mm layers, like looking through the pages of a book. The 3D mammograms have less of a chance of a small cancer hiding behind overlapping tissue and allows for better detail. The 3D mammogram looks and feels the same as a traditional mammogram, and only last a few seconds longer.
The best protection for breast cancer is early detection. 3D Mammography can make early detection, even earlier.
Call the Cheyenne River Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Protection Program to schedule your annual mammogram today 605-964-0556.