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Monday, October 7, 2013

Let's Talk About Mammograms!

Contributed by the PinnacleHealth Mammography Department

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. What better time to talk about Mammography!

Mammograms have improved greatly over the last decade from film to digital imaging and now there is even 3-D Tomosynthesis imaging. Ten years ago your images were on film; now we have Digital imaging, which is faster, more sensitive and can be done with a lower radiation dose. They can even be manipulated, similar to digital photos you take today with your camera.

There are only two things you need to know to get ready for your mammogram.
  • First, it will be easier for you if wear a two piece outfit because you need to remove your clothing from the waist up and put on a gown. 
  • Second, do not wear deodorant or powder the day of your study. Deodorants and powders can contain small metallic particles that can affect the quality of the image.
Although you may be a little nervous about getting a mammogram let me reassure you, it isn’t the horrible experience you’ve been imagining or hearing about.  Your breast will be compressed, and while it may not be comfortable, it should not be painful. Some locations use a “Mammo Pad” that cushions you a bit during the compression.

The technologist will usually take four pictures, two of each breast with the machine at different angles. Your breast will only be compressed for about 15-20 seconds for each picture.  We have several offices that offer different options for your results.
  • If you want to wait for your results, there are locations where you can get them immediately.
  • Or, If you aren’t having problem and want to get your mammogram done, leave and get your results the next day, you can.
We also offer a new technology called Digital Breast Tomosynthesis.  The exam simply requires one additional image of each breast and will provide the Radiologist with a 3D view of your breast. Tomosynthesis helps to reduce the amount of radiation to you by decreasing the need to have additional views done. This service is offered on the East Shore at the Medical Sciences Pavilion located at our Community General campus. In mid October we will have Tomosynthesis on the West Shore in our Grandview office located just off Erford Road.

Although we offer both Breast Ultrasound and Breast MRI procedures as follow-up procedures to mammography, these studies alone do not replace a Digital Mammogram for breast cancer screening.

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