Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers. About one in eight (12 percent) of women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime. Early detection is the best chance at treating and overcoming breast cancer. Routine clinical breast exams by your provider paired with screening mammograms can help detect health concerns of the breast. If there are concerns of a suspicious area, further imaging (such as diagnostic mammography or ultrasound) can be done to further evaluate.
Screening mammograms are an x-ray of the breasts in a woman who has no symptoms. The goal of a screening mammogram is to find cancer when it is too small to be felt by the woman or her provider. Finding small breast cancers early with a screening mammogram greatly improves the woman’s chance of successful treatment.
A screening mammogram usually takes two x-ray pictures (views) of each breast. Some patients, such as those with large breasts or implants, may need to have more pictures to see as much breast tissue as possible.
Diagnostic mammograms are x-ray exams of the breasts in a woman who either has a breast problem (ie a breast lump) or had a change show up on her screening mammogram. During a diagnostic mammogram more pictures are taken to carefully study the area of concern. A breast ultrasound may be recommended by the radiologist after the diagnostic mammogram to further investigate the area of concern.
High Quality 3D Mammography
At Lakes Regional Healthcare, we offer the latest in 3D mammography technology:
With 3D mammography, a series of low-dose x-rays are taken over the compressed breast. The multiple images produced throughout the breast allow a radiologist to see specific areas within the breast tissue more clearly. This is similar to a book with several pages. In regular 2D mammography, radiologists can see a tumor through a transparent book cover and transparent pages, but not know exactly where the tumor is located within the book. With 3D mammography, a radiologist can know exactly on which page the tumor is located and its size, with no more radiation used than a 2D mammogram.
Fewer Biopsies and Additional Testing
It’s not uncommon when having a screening mammogram with 2D mammography that more tests, such as a biopsy or additional mammograms, are needed. 3D mammography takes multiple images throughout the entirety of the breast so radiologists can see more images immediately, often reducing the likelihood of needing additional images from additional tests or tissue samples from biopsies.
3D mammography at Lakes Regional Healthcare is especially beneficial for those with dense breast tissue. As an analogy, finding a tumor can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Our 3D mammography system allows us to pick every piece of hay in the haystack to find the needle more easily, which is why our mammography system enables smaller breast tumors to be found, even in dense breasts that can be otherwise difficult to find.
Before Your Mammogram
We want you to have the best experience during your mammogram. Please keep these things in mind:
- If you have had mammograms at another facility, try to bring those screening images to your exam (or have them sent by your provider) to be compared to the new ones. This will help the radiologist find small changes and detect cancer as early as possible.
- If you still have a period, try to schedule your mammogram the week just after your period, when your breasts are less tender or swollen. This will help reduce discomfort.
- On the day of your exam, don’t wear deoderant, antiperspirant, powder, or perfume. Some of these contain substances that can show up on the x-ray as white spots and mimic breast cancer.
- Always let the technologist know if:
- You are pregnant or think you may be pregnant
- You have breast implants
- You are breastfeeding
- You have had any breast changes or problems
- You are using hormones
- You or a family member had breast cancer
During Your Mammogram
You will have to undress above the waist to have a mammogram. We will provide a gown for you to wear. The technologist will position your breasts for the mammogram. Your breast is compressed between two plates attached to the mammogram machine – a plastic plate (on top) and an x-ray plate (on the bottom). Although the entire procedure takes about 30 minutes, compression only lasts a few seconds but is necessary to get a good picture. You may feel some discomfort when your breasts are compressed. If it is painful, tell the technologist so she can make the compression more comfortable for you.
After Your Mammogram
You can return to your normal activities right away. You will receive your results within 30 days. However, you will likely be contacted within five working days if there is a problem with the mammogram. Please be aware that being called back for more testing does not mean that you have cancer. Being called back occurs fairly often, and typically means more pictures and/or an ultrasound are needed to see an area more clearly. In fact, only a small percentage of women who are called back for more tests are found to have breast cancer.
To schedule a screening mammography, please give us a call at 712-336-8658.
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Click Here To Read Our Article “5 Important Facts About Breast Cancer”!
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Listen to Pam tell her experience having a mammogram at Lakes Regional Healthcare.
Having A 3D Mammogram: A Patient Story
Come along with Mary Jo as she receives a 3D mammogram at Lakes Regional Healthcare.