Mammography, Stereotactic Breast Localization, and Biopsies

The Women’s Imaging Center affords women the opportunity to have their mammogram performed in a private setting by female technologists.

Breast Cancer Risk

You are at risk of developing cancer simply because you are a woman. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Women of all ages get breast cancer. But it becomes more common as a woman grows older. If your mother, sister, or daughter had breast cancer, you are at some increased risk. However, most women with breast cancer have no history of it in their families. Breast cancer is a disease that all women, especially those ages 40 and older, should be concerned about.

Screening


Breast cancer frequently can be cured if it is found when it is small and has not spread to other parts of the body. Early detection makes it possible to give treatment and still save the breast. Screening mammography is the key to early detection. It is the only way to find breast cancer before it can be felt.

Screening mammography is performed without signs or symptoms of breast cancer in order to detect the disease early. Modern mammography is safe and effective. With current equipment, the radiation dose of a two-view screening mammogram is extremely low, about the same as a dental x-ray. The proven benefits of early detection and cure far outweigh any minimal risk.

Mammography cannot detect all breast cancers. You need to ask your physician to examine your breasts once a year. You also should examine your breasts every month. However, if at anytime you feel a lump, even with a negative mammogram, consult your doctor.

What to Expect


On the day of your mammogram, you may be asked not to use deodorant on your underarms or powder on your breasts. Some of these products may cause bright dots that look like abnormalities on the x-ray films. A specially trained radiologic technologist will perform your mammogram. You will undress from the waist up. The radiologic technologist will then place your breast between two smooth, flat plastic surfaces attached to the mammography machine. The flat surfaces will compress your breast for just a few seconds. Compression is necessary to produce the best pictures using the lowest amount of radiation possible. You may be slightly uncomfortable, but the examination should not be painful.