Advances in technology are helping to detect breast cancer in its earliest—and most curable—stage. At the CHI Health Breast Center—named a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence (BICOE) by the American College of Radiology—our digital mammography screenings provide the highest level of accuracy for even the smallest tumors.
With this advanced, low-dose radiation technology, image capture is instant, crystal-clear and can be zoomed in for further review. Such speed and precision means we’ll have your mammogram screening results within 24 hours. More importantly, if anything suspicious is found, we'll make sure you receive all follow-up testing—including a biopsy, if necessary—within a matter of days, not weeks.
Take charge of your breast health—schedule your digital mammography screening online or call us today at 402-717-2222.
Why a Digital Mammogram Screening is Performed
A mammography screening is performed to:
- Screen healthy women for signs of breast cancer
- Further evaluate an abnormal finding on a physical exam
- Monitor and follow a woman who has had an abnormal mammogram
- Evaluate a woman who has symptoms of a breast disease, such as a lump, nipple discharge, breast pain, dimpling of the skin on the breast or retraction of the nipple
The American Cancer Society recommends that women begin breast cancer screening at age 40 and have repeat mammograms every year. Women with a mother or sister who had breast cancer should consider yearly mammograms 10 years earlier than the age at which their youngest family member was diagnosed.
Your Digital Mammogram Screening: What to Expect
How to prepare
Please do not wear deodorant, perfume, powders or ointments under your arms or on your breasts on the day of your mammography screening. These substances can mimic the images. Remove all jewelry from your neck and chest area. Also, be sure to tell your healthcare provider and the technologist if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
How it’s performed
You will be asked to undress from the waist up and be given a gown to wear. One breast at a time is rested on a flat surface that contains the X-ray plate. A device called a compression paddle will be used to spread out the breast tissue, and then two pictures are taken of each breast. You will be asked to hold your breath as each picture is taken.
The machine may feel cold. When the breast is compressed, you may have discomfort. However, this needs to be done to get quality images.
Sometimes you may be asked to come back at a later date for more mammography screening images. This does not necessarily mean you have breast cancer. Your doctor may simply need to evaluate an area of interest.
Mammography during pregnancy
Routine mammogram screening is not done during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. If you are pregnant and need to have an abnormality checked, your belly area will be covered and protected by a lead apron.
Understanding the Results of Your Mammography Screening
Breast tissue that shows no signs of a mass or abnormal calcification is considered normal.
Most abnormal findings on a mammogram screening turn out to be benign or nothing to worry about. However, any new findings or changes must be further evaluated.
Your Alegent Creighton radiologist may see the following types of findings on a mammogram:
- A well-outlined, round nodule (this is more likely to be a noncancerous condition such as a cyst)
- Masses or lumps
- Dense areas in the breast that could potentially hide breast cancer
- Tiny deposits of calcium in your breast tissue called calcifications, most of what are not a sign of cancer
The American College of Radiology (ACR) has developed a grading system for radiology doctors to use when they report the results of a mammography screening. Terms you may hear your doctor use include:
- Benign (noncancerous) finding
- Probably benign
- Suspicious abnormality
- Highly suggestive of malignancy or cancer
- Incomplete (needs additional imaging evaluation)
Often, the following tests are also needed:
- Additional mammogram views, sometimes called magnification or compression views
- Breast MRI exam
- Breast ultrasound
- Breast biopsy
Comparing your current mammogram screening to your past mammograms helps your radiologist tell whether you had an abnormal finding in the past, and whether it has changed.
When mammogram or ultrasound results look suspicious, a biopsy is done to test the tissue to see if it is cancerous.