A mammogram is a safe, low-dose x-ray of the inside of your breasts, which can show changes too small to be felt by touch. This procedure requires compressing the breasts firmly between a plastic compression paddle and the film. This vigorous compression is essential in imaging your breasts to decrease the radiation dosage and obtain clear pictures of the inside breast structures.
There may be temporary discomfort with your breast compression, but most patients experience only a pressure sensation. Many women tell us that the experience is not as painful as they had expected. Breast compression is not dangerous and will not damage the breast tissue. Breast compression will not cause breast cancer.
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We offer convenient breast screening locations in east, west, north and south Indianapolis, Kokomo and Anderson, some with evening and weekend hours.
Additional services—3D mammography, diagnostic testing, breast MRI and bone densitometry—are listed by each location.
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Types of mammograms
We offer 3D mammography, a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic tool designed for early breast cancer detection that can be done in conjunction with a traditional 2D digital mammogram.
For a 3D mammogram, a computer produces a 3D image of your breast tissue in one millimeter slices. The radiologist can scroll through images of your entire breast like pages of a book. This helps the radiologist see breast detail in a way never before possible to gain a better understanding of your breast tissue during screening and feel confident in their assessment. There is also less chance your doctor will call you back later for a ‘second look’ because they can see the breast tissue more clearly.
A screening mammogram is scheduled when a woman requires a routine mammogram. She is not experiencing any breast problems or symptoms and has no current history of breast disease.
A diagnostic mammogram is scheduled when a patient is experiencing new breast symptoms (a new lump, new nipple discharge, skin thickening or dimpling) as additional evaluation or short-term follow-up of recent breast problems.
A breast ultrasound is a painless technique that uses sound waves to visualize the internal structures of your breasts to identify fluid-filled cysts or solid nodules. Since ultrasound best detects certain types of problems under very specific conditions, it is not necessary for every woman to have this test.
Who can have a 3D mammography exam?
It is approved for all women who would be undergoing a standard mammogram, in both the screening and diagnostic settings.
What are the benefits of mammography screening?
Mammography screening refers to the routine practice of breast evaluation by an x-ray in women who have no apparent symptoms of breast cancer. Mammography screening seeks to detect breast cancer at early stages of development, resulting in more treatable options.
Is mammography reliable?
In 1992, the U.S. Congress passed the Mammography Quality Standards Act to ensure that mammography performed at more than 10,000 facilities throughout the country is of high quality and is reliable.
A certificate issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration must be displayed prominently at each facility in order to lawfully perform mammography. This certificate serves as evidence that the facility meets these standards.
At what age should mammography screening begin?
For most women, mammography screening should begin at age 40 and be repeated yearly.
Will Medicare pay for screening mammograms?
Effective January 1, 1998, Medicare will pay 80 percent of the allowed amount and waive the deductible amount for screening mammograms every year for patients over age 40.
What should women expect when they have a mammogram?
The mammogram should be scheduled when the breasts will be the least tender. Women are asked to wear two-piece clothing to make undressing more convenient.
You will be asked to undress from the waist up only and to remove any deodorant and/or powders from the breast area. The mammogram will be performed by a specially trained radiologic technologist.
You will stand next to the x-ray machine and two flat surfaces will then compress each breast individually for a few seconds. Compression is necessary to produce the best picture using the lowest amount of radiation possible. It may feel slightly uncomfortable.
What does “cancer risk” mean?
Cancer risk means the possibility of developing the disease. Individual, medical, environmental and genetic factors are known to increase a woman's chance of developing breast cancer. Every woman has some degree of risk for developing breast cancer simply because she is a woman. However, the risk is not the same for all women.
What are the known risk factors for breast cancer?
- Age: The risk of breast cancer increases as a woman gets older.
- Family history: The risk of getting breast cancer increases for a woman whose mother, sister, daughter or two or more close relatives, such as cousins, have had the disease.
- Personal history: Women who have had breast cancer may develop it again. Women with a history of breast disease (not cancer, but a condition that may predispose them to cancer) and women having so much dense breast tissue on a previous mammogram that a clear reading is difficult are also at increased risk.
- Other risk factors: Other risk factors include having a first child after age 30 or never having children. Current research is investigating the roles of obesity, hormone replacement therapy, diet and alcohol use.
Is mammography screening the only way to detect breast cancer?
Mammography remains the single most effective method to detect breast cancer early. However, no medical test is always 100 percent accurate, and mammography is no exception. Research is underway to improve the technology which will lead to better accuracy.