Mammography

Mammograms are one of the most important tools doctors have in breast cancer prevention and early detection. At Providence, our goal is to provide safe and accurate mammograms to help detect breast cancer in its earliest, most curable stage.

Mammography plays an important role in early detection of breast cancer, even before your health care provider can see or feel changes in the breast. The American College of Radiology and Society for Breast Imaging, recommend annual screening mammography starting at age 40. This results in the most lives saved from breast cancer.

Often your provider will evaluate your risk of developing breast cancer. A risk assessment helps identify women that may be high risk for developing breast cancer, educate women about their risk and recommend ongoing risk based screening.

3D Mammography

The most exciting advancement in breast cancer detection in more than 30 years. Providence utilizes digital mammography, which provides clearer, more accurate X-ray images. This means shorter examination times, quicker results, more convenience and less anxiety for you.

A 3D mammogram, also known as digital tomosynthesis, consists of multiple breast images and combines them to create a clearer, three-dimensional view of the breast. The doctor can then look through the tissue one millimeter at a time seeing detail inside the breast in a way never before possible. Studies have found that 3D mammograms identify more cancers, result in fewer false positives, and are more effective in women who are 65 and older. They also may be more beneficial than 2D mammograms for women with dense breast tissue.

Screening mammograms are used to detect abnormalities within your breasts. 

A screening mammogram is appropriate for most women, including women who have a history of lumpy or fibrocystic breasts, breast tenderness, strong family history of breast cancer, previous benign biopsy and a milky or greenish nipple discharge. Please report any unusual symptoms when scheduling.

A screening mammogram consists of at least four images – two pictures of each breast, one from the top-to-bottom and one from the side.

If abnormalities are detected, we may recommend a diagnostic mammogram to further evaluate the abnormality.

Diagnostic mammograms reveal more information about a specific area of concern than screening mammograms. If a detected abnormality is expected to be malignant, the area of concern can be imaged with additional mammograms (spot compression), ultrasound and/or MRI to ensure accurate results.

Women who have symptoms such as a dominant lump, mass, lesion, or clear or bloody nipple discharge should be scheduled for a diagnostic mammogram. Others who may need this exam include women who have had breast cancer, a recent biopsy or a recent mammographic abnormality.

A diagnostic mammogram consists of at least four images – two pictures of each breast, one from the top-to-bottom and one from the side. Special consideration is taken at the area of concern, which is usually marked. A signed order from a health care provider is needed to schedule a diagnostic mammogram.

 

During your imaging procedure, you stand in front of a digital X-ray receptor. Your X-ray technician adjusts the machine to your height and positions your breast on a clear plate. The plate will apply minor pressure to your body, but this to ensure the X-rays are able to penetrate the breast tissue evenly.

Images of your breast tissue are instantly rendered digitally on the computer. The radiologist can closely examine any area by zooming in, adjusting brightness or changing the contrast of the X-ray image, making all areas of the breast easier to see. Computer-aided detection and diagnosis (CAD) helps analyze images using a sophisticated software program, which highlights areas on a mammogram that contains features associated with cancer. The radiologist reviews the images conventionally then reviews the special CAD markers, if any, identified by the CAD software.

When mammograms are done digitally, they use less radiation, reducing your lifetime exposure to X-rays.