Breast Health: Screening for Breast Cancer
Screening with a mammogram is important for women who have no symptoms as well as those who are experiencing symptoms, including lumps, pain, or nipple discharge. Mammography is the only proven method for reliably detecting abnormal tissue of the breast. Research shows that annual mammograms can help detect breast cancers early, when they are most curable, and it is possible to use breast-conserving therapies. Screening mammography can show changes in the breast up to 2 years before a patient or physician can feel them. For this reason, it is an excellent way for women to stay on top of their breast health.
Current guidelines recommend screening mammography every year for women aged 40 years or more, this according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. For women who have had or are at increased risk of breast cancer, the National Cancer Institute recommends seeking expert advice about when to begin and how often to have screening mammography.
Types of Mammograms
Recent advances in mammography include digital mammography, three-dimensional mammography, and computer-aided detection.
Digital (or full-field digital) mammography converts X-rays into electrical signals. The electrical signals are then used to produce breast images that can be seen on a computer screen or printed on special film.
Three-dimensional mammography, also known as breast tomosynthesis, uses X-rays to capture multiple images of the breast. By creating a three-dimensional view, it helps identify and locate breast structures and or abnormalities. It also reduces the number of times women are called back for additional imaging. We currently only offer breast tomosynthesis in our Livingston and Florham Park locations.
Computer-aided detection (CAD) uses digitized mammography image from a conventional or digital mammogram. The computer then searches for and highlights abnormalities, including dense or calcified tissue that might indicate cancer.
"There's no one-size-fits-all approach to breast cancer screening," said Ronald Bauer, MD, FACS, a breast surgeon with Summit Medical Group Arizona. "Because each woman has a unique personal and family medical history, she should discuss what's right for her with her doctor."
For more information or to schedule an appointment call 602-396-2146.