At Austin Breast Imaging, we use the technologically advanced 3D Mammogram/Tomosynthesis for all screening mammograms.
A mammogram is a low dose x-ray picture of the breast. Mammograms are used to check for breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. This type of mammogram is called a screening mammogram.
Screening mammograms performed by a Rose Imaging Specialist are digital breast tomosynthesis exams, or 3D mammograms which create multiple layers of pictures of each breast. The images make it possible to detect tumors that cannot be felt and are much more accurate for all women, regardless of breast density. Screening mammograms can also find microcalcifications (tiny deposits of calcium) that sometimes indicate the presence of breast cancer.
Why are Screening Mammograms Needed?
Many small tumors can be seen on a mammogram before they can be felt by a woman or her health professional. Mammograms do not prevent breast cancer or reduce a woman’s risk of developing cancer. However, regular screening mammograms have been shown to reduce a woman’s risk of dying from breast cancer by detecting cancer in its early stages.
Mammograms are scientifically proven to reduce mortality from breast cancer. Mammograms can show signs of cancer in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Current guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American Medical Association (AMA), the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology (ACOC) and the American College of Radiology (ACR) recommend screening mammograms every year for women, beginning at age 40. Multiple large trials have shown the benefit of annual mammograms beginning at age 40.
Before your Screening Mammogram
If you are still having menstrual periods, you may schedule a screening mammogram anytime of the month. However, if your breasts are usually tender during your period, you may want to have your mammogram or procedure performed within two weeks after your menstrual period ends.
In addition please remember:
- Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the exam. The residue left on your skin by these substances may interfere with interpretation of the mammogram.
- If possible, obtain prior mammograms and make them available to the radiologist at the time of the current exam.
- For your safety, please notify our scheduling department and technologists if you believe you may be pregnant or if you have breast implants.
During Your Screening Mammogram
Our technologists are dedicated to breast imaging and take special care to make the experience as comfortable as possible. You will need to remove any jewelry that might interfere with the X-ray picture. You will need to remove your clothes above the waist, and you will be given a robe for the test.
One at a time, your breasts will be positioned on a flat plate that will acquire the image while a paddle compresses your breast tissue. Firm compression is needed to spread out the tissue and obtain a high-quality image. You will be instructed to hold your breath during the exam for just a few seconds of compression. You may be asked to lift your arm or use your hand to hold your other breast out of the way. Usually at least two pictures are taken of each breast, one from the top and one from the side.
The entire exam takes only 15 minutes.