What is mammography?
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.
Why are they important?
A mammogram can find a breast cancer even when it is too small to be felt.
What is digital mammography?
A mammography system in which the x-ray film is replaced by detectors that convert x-rays into electrical signals, which 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.
What are the advantages of digital mammography?
Digital mammography systems set new benchmarks for ease-of-use, patient comfort, image quality, versatility and digital workflow integration.
What are the benefits?
Digital mammography provides a less stressful mammography experience for patients, with new features that enhance their comfort and reassurance. All patient images can be printed or saved with special software to permit viewing images on any personal computer.
What is a computer-aided detection system (CAD)?
A computer software program that searches for abnormal areas of density, mass or calcification in a digital mammographic image, which may indicate the presence of cancer. The CAD system highlights these areas on the images, alerting the radiologist to the need for further analysis.
Who should have a screening mammogram?
New guidelines recommend screening mammograms every two years for women beginning at age 50. Previous guidelines recommended yearly mammograms starting at age 40. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) adds that women who have had breast cancer and those with a genetic history of breast cancer should seek expert medical advice about when to begin screening.
Who should have a diagnostic mammogram?
Diagnostic mammography is used to evaluate a patient with abnormal clinical findings — such as a breast lump or lumps — that have been found by the woman or her doctor. Diagnostic mammography may also be done after an abnormal screening mammography in order to evaluate the area of concern.
Why are images from past mammograms important?
n Availability of prior screening mammograms reduces false positives by up to 44 percent.
n Comparing current mammograms to prior mammograms significantly improves radiologist performance.
n Prior mammograms should always be used for comparison when available.
SOURCES: Manatee Diagnostics Center, American College of Radiology