What is a Mammogram?
A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray examination of the breast tissue. Mammograms are commonly performed to look for breast cancer, but also can detect non-cancerous masses, cysts, calcifications and sometimes breast implant ruptures. RAS uses both analog and digital X-ray units. Traditional analog mammograms are recorded and stored on X-ray film. With digital mammography, the images are recorded and stored on computerized media. The method of performing the exam and the image quality are identical for analog and digital mammography.
Computer-Aided Detection (CAD) is routinely used at Palm Imaging Institute to further review all screening and most diagnostic mammograms. After a radiologist has viewed your mammogram images, a specially designed CAD computer program scans the images and identifies areas that may require greater scrutiny. This technology, which is like having a second set of eyes review your mammogram, helps your radiologist detect these abnormalities.
Mammography is the most reliable screening method for breast cancer detection available today. The American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology and the American Medical Association recommend an annual mammogram for women who are 40 years of age and older. The combination of regular mammography, an annual physical exam by your personal physician and monthly breast self-examination (BSE) is considered the best way to detect breast cancer early and save women’s lives.
What To Expect
At Palm Imaging Institute, all mammograms are performed by female technologists who have special training and licensing from the state of California. Our facility is inspected annually by the U.S. FDA to ensure that we comply with the regulations of the Mammography Quality Standards Act.
The type of mammogram that your physician orders will depend on your history and any symptoms that you may have. A screening mammogram is performed on women who have no signs or symptoms of disease. Typically, two images of each breast are taken. Larger-breasted women may require additional images.
A diagnostic mammogram is performed on women or men who have a symptom, such as a lump, pain or a nipple discharge, or a personal history of breast cancer. Diagnostic mammography also is performed when a screening mammogram shows an area that needs a more detailed look. The type and number of views taken will be customized to your situation.
Implant “push-back” views may be added to either type of mammogram, for women who have breast implants. These special views are taken to reveal as much breast tissue as possible by gently maneuvering the implant out of the way.
For screening mammograms, you will be in the center for approximately 30 minutes. For diagnostic exams, you may be at the center for up to one hour.
How To Prepare
You will be given a gown to wear during your exam.
On the date of your exam please make sure your breasts and underarm area
are free of any powder, deodorant or lotions. Particles from those materials
may mimic calcifications on the images, so this cleansing step
is extremely important for accurate imaging.
While X-rays at this dosage are generally safe, unborn fetuses are more vulnerable
to cell damage from them. If you are pregnant, or think you may be pregnant,
we can modify the exam or postpone it if necessary.
The radiologist and/or your physician will make that decision.