Digital Screening Mammography is essential to the early detection of breast cancer, because it can reveal breast tissue abnormalities up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the American Cancer Society, the American Medical Association and the American College of Radiology all recommend regular, once-a-year mammograms for all women, beginning at age 40. Monthly breast self-exams are suggested for all women over the age of 20. Women between the ages of 20 and 39 should have a clinical breast examination every three years.
Digital mammograms offer the highest-quality images, giving radiologists a crisp, clear view of the breast. Unlike traditional film mammograms, a digital mammogram can be lightened or darkened to provide the best possible view of breast tissue. The radiation dose to patients from digital mammograms is lower than traditional mammograms.
Digital screening mammograms are especially good at early detection for women who:
- Are under 50
- Are pre-menopausal
- Have dense breasts
Patients scheduled for a Mammogram can find additional resources about the exam, including other photos and videos of the procedure.
Every day, Greensboro Imaging strives to ensure patients have the best possible experience before, during and after their exams and procedures. It shows in patient feedback.
From technologist to physician, everyone at The Breast Center was very kind, compassionate and caring. I feel fortunate that I was led there and was given the very best of care. Their commitment and dedication touched me, so much so that I have embraced their vision by establishing a nonprofit organization called Alight, Inc. for Breast Cancer Survivorship. We will work with The Breast Center to offer encouragement and support to the women in our community who must face the life-altering decisions and challenges associated with this horrific disease. And it all started because I personally received such wonderful, compassionate care.
~Mary Jones, Founder of Alight, Inc. for Breast Cancer Survivorship
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The Breast Center of Greensboro Imaging is committed to providing you with quality care, which includes providing accurate information and educational materials to help you understand and make informed decisions about your health.
To prepare for the procedure, a qualified technologist will position your breast on the machine and apply compression from the machine. The compression spreads out the breast tissue to ensure all tissue appears in the mammogram and to avoid hiding potential abnormalities. You should expect to feel pressure from the compression. Women with sensitive breasts may feel discomfort. It is recommended that the exam be scheduled when your breasts are least tender, generally one week after your period. It is best to avoid the week before your period, as breast tissue has increased sensitivity at this point in your cycle.
Leigh Kuhnly, RN, BSN, a nurse educator, is available to address all your breast health questions and concerns. See below for information on preparing for a mammogram and performing a breast self-exam.
How to Prepare for a Mammogram
- Do not schedule your mammogram during the week before your period, especially if you have a tendency to feel tenderness during this time. Generally, the week after your period is the best time to schedule a mammogram.
- Discuss any new findings or problems in your breasts with your doctor, as well as any prior surgeries, hormone use or family history of breast cancer.
- Take note of any symptoms you are feeling and describe them to the technologist.
- Obtain prior mammograms, if possible, for the radiologist to compare with the new images.
- Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the exam. Often these products can appear on the mammogram and simulate calcium deposits.
- Before the exam, you will be asked to remove all jewelry and clothing from the waist up. You will be given a gown that opens in the front
- If you have breast implants, please let us know when you make your appointment so we can optimize your exam.
How to Perform a Breast Self-Exam
A breast self-exam is an important tool in the early detection of breast cancer. Women should examine their breasts regularly, not only to check for abnormalities, but also to gain understanding of how their breasts should normally feel. When you are familiar with your breasts, you are more likely to detect a change in them.
Your breasts are complex organs that change throughout the month as hormone levels change. They may feel differently at different points in your menstrual cycle, therefore you should perform your breast self-exams at the same time each month. It is best to examine your breasts at a time when they are not tender or filled with fluid. This time varies depending on your life stage. For menstruating women, the last day of your period is ideal. Not only is the breast tissue optimal, but you also have a physical reminder each month to perform your exam. Women who are past menopause or who are pregnant should examine their breasts on the same day each month. Those taking hormone replacements should perform their exams the day they resume taking the medication. Breast feeding mothers should check each breast when the milk has been expressed.
Step 1: Lying down
- Lie down on your back and place a small pillow beneath your right shoulder.
- Using the tips of the three middle fingers on your left hand, examine your right breast in circular motions.
- Pressure should range from light to deep, and follow an up and down pattern.
- Examine the areas above and around your breasts, in your armpit area and around your collarbone.
- Repeat these steps on your left breast.
Step 2: In front of your mirror
While standing, check for visual changes in your breast such as skin puckering, changes in color or texture, bulges, changes in vein patterns or retraction of the skin or nipple. You should examine your breasts in the mirror in four different positions:
- Arms at your side
- Arms over your head
- Your hands on your hips
- Bent forward with your hands on your hips