Preparation/  Frequently Asked Questions

Breast Cancer Risk Assessment tool

Select Diagnostic Imaging offers Senograph full field digital mammography system from GE healthcare.

Features of Senograph from GE:

-Offers fast positioning
-Offers one touch motorized positioning
-Improved comfort
-Minimized muscle contraction: Exclusive handles are designed to minimize the patient's muscle contractions during exam.
-Increased positioning options: Whether standing or sitting in a wheelchair, the flexible designed helps make positioning easier and more comfortable.

Mammography is a low dose breast x-ray that can detect small cancers that palpation alone cannot detect. It is an examination that can help to effectively protect you against breast cancer.

Digital mammography is another method of acquiring an x-ray and works much like creating a digital photograph. These high-resolution images can then be manipulated by the radiologist, reducing the need for additional imaging. The radiation dose of digital mammogram is lower than standard mammogram.

Mammography facts:

-Mammography has helped to reduce breast cancer mortality in the US by nearly 1/3 since 1990.
-3/4 of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease and are not considered high risk.
-1 in 6 breast cancers occurs in women age 40-49.
-If breast cancer is detected early enough, 97% of women will be alive 5 years later. If detection is late, recovery and survival percentages fall considerably.

Computer Aided Detection (CAD)-once the digital mammogram has been performed, the computer generated images are transferred into a CAD system for analysis. The CAD system highlights potential areas of concern. The computer provides a valuable second read that increases the chances of detecting breast cancer in its early stages.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Why is mammography important?

Annual mammogram can detect early cancers, when it is most treatable. A mammogram can show a cancer well before the patient or physician can feel it. Not all cancers however can be detected mammographically. The American College Of Radiology and the society of breast imaging recommend that women receive annual mammogram starting at age 40.

2)  How is a mammogram performed?

A specially qualified radiology technologist will perform the exam and a radiologist will then examined the images and interpreted them. In order to obtain a mammogram, a technologist will compress the breast using a compression paddle, designed for this type of exam. The compression may be uncomfortable for a few seconds but should not be a painful procedure. 2 images of each breast are generally obtained.

3) When should I have my first screening mammogram and how often thereafter?

The American College of Radiology recommends that women age 40 and older that are without symptoms should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so as long as they are in good health.

4)  What is the difference between a screening mammogram and a diagnostic mammogram?

Screening mammogram is a low dose x-ray exam and women with no known breast problems. If an abnormality is detected on the screening mammogram, a more detailed diagnostic mammogram is performed that involves special mammographic views for careful evaluation of the abnormal area.

5) What type of exam is appropriate if I am under 30 and have breast pain, tenderness or a lump?

A physical breast exam by your doctor would be the first step.  Your doctor may suggest that you return for another examination after your next period.  If your doctor is uncertain about your symptoms, then imaging would be appropriate.  In most cases an ultrasound exam is sufficient as the only imaging exam needed.  In some patients additional imaging such as Mammogram/MRI may be needed.

6)  Why is ultrasound performed in addition to mammography?

Interpretation of a mammogram could be difficult in patients that have dense breasts (less fatty tissue and more glandular tissue).  Ultrasound is used in this situation as a complementary test to the mammogram.

7) What is considered high risk for breast cancer?

As per the American Cancer Society, high risk for breast cancer includes women who:

-Have her lifetime risk of breast cancer of about 20-25% or greater according to risk assessment tools.
-Have known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations
-Have first degree relatives with breast cancer or BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation
-Had radiation therapy to the chest between ages of 10-30