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.
What is 3D mammography?
CHI Health is proud to provide 3D mammography which is proven to find cancers (specifically early stage cancers) at a higher rate. For patients who are considered high risk or have a family history of breast cancer, 3D mammography is the preferred method of imaging. We have 3D mammography available at our diagnostic centers. 3D Mammography, or Digital Breast Tomosynthesis, allows doctors to examine breast tissue one layer at a time. It generates a stack of 1 mm slice images (“layers”) of breast tissue. Instead of viewing the complexities of your breast tissue in one flat image, the radiologist can examine the tissue one layer at a time. Fine details are more clearly visible, no longer hidden by overlapping tissue.
Who is eligible for 3D mammography?
All women can benefit from 3D Mammography, especially:
- Women between the ages of 40-60
- Women having a baseline, first-time mammogram
- Women with dense breast tissue
- Women with a personal history of cancer
The benefits of 3D mammography
3D Mammography (in combination with traditional digital mammography) has the potential to:
- Help reduce false positive rates by 15%
- 40% decrease in call backs which means less worry, anxiety and cost for patients
- Improve the selection of patients for biopsy
- Increase cancer detection rates, especially in patients with dense breasts
- Detects up to 40% more invasive cancers
What to expect during your exam
The 3D mammography screening experience is similar to that of a traditional digital mammogram. The 3D screening images are taken at the same time as your traditional, digital screening. The technologist will position you, compress your breasts under a paddle, and take images from different angles. The X-ray arm will move in an arc, taking multiple low-dose breast images in just seconds. The length of the exam is similar to that of a routine traditional digital mammogram. The technologist sends your breast images electronically to the radiologist, who studies them and reports results to either your physician or directly to you.