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Every woman is at risk for breast cancer, and her risks increase with age. Three-quarters of all breast cancers occur in women over 50. 75% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no special risk factors, which includes no family history.
Mammograms are the most effective tool used to diagnose breast cancer. They are used both in early detection for women experiencing no symptoms and as a diagnostic tool for women experiencing symptoms such as a lump, pain or nipple discharge.
Annual screening mammography starting at age 40 results in the greatest mortality reduction, the most lives saved, and the most life years gained. That is why the American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging recommend regular mammography in women 40 and older.
Before Your Mammogram
Before scheduling a mammogram, discuss any problems in your breasts with your doctor. In addition, inform your doctor of any prior surgeries, hormone use and family or personal history of breast cancer.
- Please do not wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the exam. These can appear on the mammogram as calcium spots.
- Do not schedule your mammogram for the week before your period if your breasts are usually tender during this time. The best time for a mammogram is one week following your period.
- Avoid coffee, tea or caffeinated soft drinks for a few days before a mammogram. Caffeine can cause breast tenderness.
- If you have breast implants, be sure to communicate that in advance.
- Always inform your doctor or mammography technologist if there is any possibility that you are pregnant.
During Your Mammogram
When you get a mammogram, a technologist will position your breast and apply compression for a few seconds. Some patients feel pressure of discomfort at this time, but technologists can help to minimize this discomfort. You must hold very still and may be asked to hold your breath while the image is being taken to reduce the possibility of a blurred image. A screening mammogram typically takes 15-30 minutes to complete.
What is 3D Mammography?
The DMH Breast Center offers 3D mammography, which produces a sharper, three-dimensional image of breast tissue. This new advancement, when used in combination with traditional 2D mammography, can increase early detection by 40 percent—leading to a 98-percent survival rate.
As in a conventional mammogram, the technologist will position you, compress your breast and take images from different angles. During each compression, multiple images are taken. This additional information helps the radiologist make a more accurate diagnosis. A 3D mammogram requires no additional compression and takes just a few seconds longer than a conventional 2D mammogram.
After Your Mammogram
A radiologist, a physician specifically trained to supervise and interpret radiology examinations, will analyze the images and send a signed report to your primary care or referring physician and mail you an explanation of your results within 30 days.
It’s helpful to know at a time like this that DMH Breast Center is the best place to come for complete care. The DMH Breast Center has been accredited by the NAPBC is only given to those centers that have voluntarily committed to provide the highest level of quality breast care and that undergo a rigorous evaluation process and review of their performance. The DMH Breast Center is also designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology – an achievement that has been earned by fewer than 200 of the 8,800 certified breast imaging centers in the United States.