The latest news on the health and wellness issues that matter most • Novem Health Matters l test news on the h alth and wellness issues that matter mos • September 2018
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE "GIRLS" A screening mammogram is used to check for breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. The results can help find breast cancer one to three years before a lump can actually be felt in the breast, therefore being one of the most effective ways to find breast cancer early. A conventional screening mammogram is a low dose X-ray picture of the breast, which stores images on film. Today’s technology provides radiologists with digital mammography which stores images on a computer and can be shared electronically with other healthcare providers.
Screening mammograms are performed on patients who are asymptomatic (have no breast complaints) and meet the cri- teria for a mammogram. These criteria are generally age (over the age of 40), or family history of breast cancer. A screening mammogram usually involves imaging of both breasts and the number of images depends on the patient.
The Importance of Mammograms
While most mammography is done on a screening basis, it is crucial in diagnosing the cause of breast symptoms such as breast lumps, breast pain, and nipple discharge.
During a mammogram You will be asked to undress from the waist up and given a gown to wear. When it is time for your exam, the technologist may ask you to remove your gown so it does not interfere with the X-ray. You will be asked to stand in front of a mammography X-ray machine. The technologist will place one of your breasts on a platform and raise or lower the platform to match your height. She will place a plastic plate on top of your breast. For several seconds, the plate will push down on your breast, called compression. Compression flattens and spreads out your breast. The compression may be uncomfortable, but it should not be painful. If compression becomes painful, tell your technologist. Compression usually lasts about 2 to 3 seconds for each image taken. Why compression is needed: • Compression helps reduce movement which may blur the images. • Compression allows the radiologist who studies the images to see whether you have tiny abnormalities that are hard to see otherwise. • Because compression makes the breast tissue thinner, less radiation needs to be used during the images. During a mammogram, do not have any deodorant, lotion or powder on your underarms or area around your underarms. These products can affect the quality of the images. Once the mammogram is done, you can put these products back on if you wish. Getting ready for a mammogram
The benefit of digital mammography Digital mammograms, or 2D mammography, are only used in diagnostic imaging centers that are certified by the FDA to perform digital mammography. This technology uses less radiation and provides better picture clarity which can make detecting abnormal changes much more accurate. NCH Imaging now offers a digital 3Dmammogramwhich allows physicians to examine breast tissue layer by layer. So instead of viewing the breast tissue in one flat image, the radiologist can examine the tissue one Once your breast is in place, the technologist will take an X-ray while asking you to stand still and hold your breath. A screening mammogram appointment usually takes about 30 minutes.
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