Digital Mammograpy - General Information
A mammogram is simply a low-dose X-ray exam of breast tissue, routinely used to screen for breast cancer and to evaluate overall breast health. Marshall exlusively uses digital mammography, which means more rapid testing and results. Additionally, according to a National Cancer Institute study, "Digital mammography was significantly better than film mammography in screening women who were under age 50, or women of any age who had very dense breast tissue."
We also use computer-aided detection, or CAD, which is a special computer program that evaluates the test images and pinpoints areas that need a closer look. Combined with the skilled interpretation by our radiologists, CAD helps ensure accurate results.
An annual mammogram is highly recommended for all women 40 years of age and older and is the most reliable screening method available for detection of breast cancer. Combined with a monthly breast self-examination and an annual women's health exam from your doctor, annual mammography is the best method of early breast cancer detection and the best chance of saving lives.
What to expect
Most exams take between 30 minutes and one hour.
For the comfort and reassurance of our patients, all mammograms at Marshall are performed by licensed and specially trained female technologists.
Pre-menopausal women are often encouraged to schedule the exam in the two weeks following menstruation, when breast tissue is typically less tender.
Mammograms are either called "screening", when the exam is routine and there are no signs of disease; or "diagnostic", when the exam has been ordered due to a symptom such as a lump or breast pain. If a screening mammogram shows any areas that need closer inspection, diagnostic mammography will then be performed. The number of views taken during the mammogram will depend on your unique situation and needs.
When you enter the exam area, we'll provide you with a dressing room to change into an exam gown and cleanse your breast and underarm area to remove any powder, antiperspirant or other residue that may interfere with the testing equipment's accuracy.
Since mammograms involve compressing breast tissue between plates, they can't generally be described as comfortable. However, our technologists are compassionate and specially trained to make the exam as comfortable as possible.
If anything suspicious is found, we employ special protocols to ensure follow up testing and results are handled as quickly as possible, with the involvement of the radiologist and your personal physician.
Please note: If you have children under 12 years old, please make other arrangements for childcare, as there are no childrecare facilities on site. Children under 12 may not be left unattended in the waiting areas. Due to the nature of the types of imaging exams performed and for safety purposes, children are not allowed in the examination rooms.
Read more about our procedures following a suspicious mammogram.