Mammography is a specific type of X-ray for the examination of breasts. It is used as a screening tool for the detection of abnormalities in the breast tissue. Research has shown that annual mammograms lead to early detection of breast cancers, when they are most curable and breast-conservation therapies are available.
While mammography is the best screening tool for breast cancer available today, mammograms do not detect all breast cancers. Most expert groups endorse a triple approach to breast cancer screening. The combined use of clinical breast examination, mammogram, and breast self-examination is believed to offer the best opportunity for early detection.
Advantages of digital mammography
A digital mammogram differs from film mammography in that it uses a special detector to capture and convert X-ray energy into a digital image. The Digital Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial (DMIST) showed that for the entire population of women studied, digital and film mammography have similar screening accuracy. However, digital mammography has been shown to be more accurate in women under 50 years old, and in women with dense breast tissues. An additional advantage of digital over film mammography is that the technologist can immediately assess the quality of the digital image rather than waiting for the film to be processed. This greatly reduces your time in the mammography unit and improves patient comfort.
What you can expect during mammography? During mammography, a specially qualified technologist will position your breast in the digital mammography unit. Your breast(s) will be placed on a special platform and compressed with a paddle. Although this may be uncomfortable, it should not be painful and will last only seconds. The breast must be compressed while the X-ray is taken in order to get the best image detail.
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Refrain from using powder, cream, or deodorant on your breasts or under your arms on the day of the examination. Try to schedule the mammogram during the time of the month that your breasts are least sensitive. Wear a comfortable two-piece outfit to your appointment. If you have had prior mammograms at another facility please bring them with you. If you do not have copies of your prior mammograms, let us know and we will request them for you.
Let No Woman Be Overlooked – Breast and Cervical Cancer Program
This program provides FREE breast and cervical cancer screenings to women who meet certain requirements. Within the greater Concord region, this service is coordinated via the Concord Hospital Family Health Center.
For more information call NH Department of Health and Human Services at (800) 852-3345 ext 4931 or the Concord Hospital Family Health Center at (603) 228-7200.