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MAMMOGRAPHY

Mammography is an X-ray of the breast that screens for cancer. Mammography can be done as a routine screening when women have no breast cancer symptoms, as well as a diagnostic test if a woman is experiencing breast pain, a breast lump, or nipple discharge, or has a family history of breast cancer.

At Diagnostic Professionals, Inc., we offer digital mammography with CAD (computer-aided detection), which helps to flag abnormalities that may be associated with breast cancer. As the radiologist evaluates the digital images of the breasts, these evaluations are compared to those of the CAD, essentially resulting in “two sets of eyes.” Computer-aided detection has been shown to increase breast cancer detection rates by 15 percent and up to 15 months earlier.

Since the radiation used in mammography is low-dose, it is a very safe procedure. Any small risk of damage from radiation is offset by the potential benefits.

It is best to schedule your mammogram one week after your period, when your breasts will be less tender. Tell the center in advance if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, in which case the mammogram may not be done, or if you have breast implants or have had a breast biopsy in the past.

When you prepare for your appointment, refrain from wearing deodorant, perfume, powder, or lotion under your arms or near your breasts as these may show up as spots on the X-ray images.

During the mammogram, two images will be taken of each of your breasts, one from the top down and the other from side to side. Your breast will be placed on a mammogram plate and briefly compressed while the images are made. Though it may be a little uncomfortable, the mammography procedure will be over in 10 to 15 minutes.

Mammography can help show breast tissue changes early. Digital mammography versus traditional mammography also gives more detailed images, which can be easier for looking at dense breast tissue.

A mammogram can sometimes show cancer even when it’s not present (a “false-positive” result), or may not detect breast cancer (a “false-negative” result), particularly in more dense breasts.

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