This service is available at all locations.
- Pointe West
What is a Mammography?
Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose X-ray system to examine breasts. A mammography exam, called a mammogram, is used to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women. Mammograms are used as a screening tool to detect early breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms and detect and diagnose breast disease in women experiencing symptoms such as a lump, pain or nipple discharge.
Mammography plays a central role in early detection of breast cancers because it can show changes 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, the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American Medical Association and the American College of Radiology recommend screening mammography every year for women, beginning at age 40. Research has shown that annual mammograms lead to early detection of breast cancers, when they are most curable and breast-conservation therapies are available.
The National Cancer Institute adds that women who have had breast cancer and those who are at increased risk due to a genetic history of breast cancer should seek expert medical advice regarding whether they should begin screening before age 40 and the appropriate frequency of screening.
Digital mammography uses solid-state detectors that convert X-rays into electrical signals. The electrical signals are used to produce images of the breast that can be seen on a computer screen or printed on special film similar to conventional mammograms. From the patient perspective, having a digital mammogram is essentially the same as having a conventional film screen mammogram.
Diagnostic mammography is used to evaluate a patient with abnormal clinical findings — such as a breast lump — that have been found by the patient or her doctor. Diagnostic mammography may also be done after an abnormal screening mammography in order to evaluate the area of concern on the screening exam.