Digital mammography is the most recent advancement in mammography technology. Digital mammography is similar to traditional mammography, but utilizes a special computer attached to the x-ray equipment that receives the images and immediately converts them into a digital picture on the screen. Traditional mammography utilizes an x-ray film cassette to record the images. The cassette is then developed into film and hung on a light box for the radiologist to view and evaluate. (This new digital technology may be compared to photography and the use of film/processing of film as opposed to the digital camera/downloading of pictures.)


Digital mammography images are transmitted to the computer screen where they can be viewed immediately by the technologist and radiologist. The digital mammogram is then stored on a computer, rather than in large film envelopes. With digital mammography, the magnification of an area, brightness, and/or contrast of the film may be adjusted after the exam is completed enabling the radiologist to see certain areas more clearly.

SCREENING MAMMOGRAPHY

A screening mammogram is an x-ray of the breast used to detect breast changes in women who have no signs of breast cancer.

Doctors have no single 100% effective method for detecting breast cancer.  Many cancers are too small or soft to be felt, but can be seen on a mammogram.  That’s why screening mammograms are so important.  However, not all cancers behave in the same way.  Some types of cancer can be felt more easily than they can be seen in a mammogram.  Therefore, the best way to detect breast cancer is by combining breast self-examination, your doctor’s breast examination, and the mammogram.  If you discover a breast lump, it is important to let the technologist know about it when you have your mammogram.  The doctor needs this information in order to decide if other tests need to be done with the mammogram such as a special view of the lump or an ultrasound.

If you discover a breast lump, and a mammogram is performed and you receive normal results, this doesn’t mean you or your doctor should ignore the breast lump.  If it continues to enlarge, you must contact your doctor again and notify them of this.  If you have a normal screening mammogram, and then develop a new lump, you should have it checked by your doctor.  Mammograms do not detect ALL cancers.  One out of every eight women develops breast cancer.  Since it’s such a common disease, we need to use all methods we possibly can to find it.

DIAGNOSTIC MAMMOGRAPHY

Mammography is the process of using low-energy X-rays to examine the human breast and is used as a diagnostic and a screening tool. The goal of mammography is the early detection of breast cancer, typically through detection of characteristic masses and/or micro calcifications.