Four Tips for a Pain Free Mammogram
Who Should Have a Mammogram?
The American Cancer Society recommends the following Breast Screening Guidelines:
- Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast) if they wish to do so.
- Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
- Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or continue yearly screening.
- Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.
Women should also know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast changes to a health care provider right away.
Some women – because of their family history, a genetic tendency, or certain other factors – should be screened with MRIs along with mammograms. (The number of women who fall into this category is very small.) Talk with a health care provider about your risk for breast cancer and the best screening plan for you.
Screening mammograms are meant for women with no breast symptoms and normal clinical exam (the exam performed by your healthcare provider). Screening mammography uses a low-dose x-ray system to examine breasts and plays a central part in early detection of breast cancers because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. It is recommended that women age 40 and older have a screening mammogram each year.
Diagnostic mammograms are meant to further evaluate an abnormality that was found during breast self exam, an annual physical with a healthcare provider or on a screening mammogram. It is also used to evaluate breast symptoms. Symptoms or abnormalities may include pain, swelling, lump, redness, nipple discharge or changes in the appearance of breast tissue.
About Breast Density
Breast tissue can be fatty, fibrous/glandular, or a combination of both. The more fibrous tissue you have, the more dense your breast is. A mammogram is the only exam that enables the radiologist to determine your breast density. If you are classified as having dense breasts, it is recommended that you continue to have annual screening mammograms. Dense breast tissue slightly decreases the ability of mammography to find breast cancer and also slightly increases the risk of breast cancer. Mammography is still the best screening tool available. Along with mammography, women who have additional risk factors for breast cancer may benefit from exams such as tomosynthesis, ultrasound or MRI. Discuss these supplemental options with your healthcare provider.
Computer Aided Detection (CAD)
Midwest Radiology is equipped with state-of-the-art Computer Aided Detection (CAD). This technology aids the radiologist in identifying very subtle changes in the breast. CAD, as the name implies, uses a computer to assist in analyzing your mammogram. The computer utilizes breakthrough technology to highlight any potential areas of concern on a mammogram, calling attention to subtle changes in the breast tissue that may indicate the presence of cancer. The computer does not replace the radiologist who reads the mammograms. The radiologist determines if marked areas need further evaluation. With CAD, the radiologist still makes the final interpretation of your mammograms and you receive the benefit of a second opinion.
Scheduling a Procedure
Midwest Radiology maintains dedicated scheduling resources for all outpatient imaging center locations. We offer same-day scheduling and accept most forms of medical insurance. Call us today!
Our outpatient imaging services are provided through St. Paul Radiology and Suburban Imaging clinics conveniently located throughout the Twin Cities area. We offer top quality imaging services that generate high-resolution imagery using state-of-the-art medical imaging equipment.
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All of our breast imaging specialists are board certified and fellowship trained physicians. Midwest Radiology plays a major role in breast cancer screening in the Twin Cities area, providing administrative, imaging, and procedural expertise to major breast care centers; and imaging support to many smaller breast imaging sites. Our radiologists actively participate in breast care conferences, helping to formulate treatment plans for patients in concert with oncologists, surgeons, and pathologists. We strive to detect breast cancer at its earliest, most successfully-treated stages and provide compassionate, timely care for our patients, using state-of-the-art technology.