CVMC offers the most sophisticated digital mammography equipment in the industry, which provides a high-quality image to the radiologist for an accurate diagnosis. 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 to detect and diagnose breast disease in women experiencing symptoms such as a lump, pain or nipple discharge. There are different types of mammograms:
Carson Valley Medical Center offers wide-angle 3D mammography (also known as true breast tomosynthesis). This technology gives everyone their best chance for an early and accurate diagnosis. The gold standard in breast cancer screening has previously been digital two-dimensional mammography. These mammograms suffer, though, from decreasing sensitivity in women with dense breasts, or when breast tissue overlaps. The result can be unclear images that leave doctors unsure of what they see, and can lead to cancers being missed.
- Up to 30 percent of cancers go undetected by standard mammography.
- 52 to 76 percent of cancers are missed in dense breast tissue, where tumors are more difficult to identify.
That all changes with wide-angle 3D mammography.
How it works
The 3D mammogram experience is just like the 2D mammogram for the patient.
The breast is compressed under a paddle as images are taken of the breast.
Unlike 2D mammography, though, 3D mammography takes X-ray pictures of each breast from many angles that are not available in traditional mammography. The tube moves in a 50-degree arc around the breast, taking 25 images during the exam. Those images are then sent to a computer and assembled into a three-dimensional picture of the breast.
The result is a clearer image that helps us look inside the breast layer by layer to find tumors better than standard two-dimensional mammography alone, with fewer recalls. Simply put, 3D mammography leaves breast cancer with no place to hide.
To schedule a mammogram, call 775-782-1533.
Mammography plays a central part 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 (HHS), the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Radiology (ACR) 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 (NCI) 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 about whether they should begin screening before age 40 and about the frequency of screening.
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 on the screening exam.
What to do to prepare for your mammogram:
- It is preferable that you schedule your mammogram during the first 10 days following your menstrual period when your breasts are least tender.
- Use no deodorant or dusting powder.
- Bring old mammogram films, if possible.