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Breast Cancer Image On Mammogram

How To Reduce Risk

Mammogram for breast cancer – What to expect

There is no guaranteed way to prevent breast cancer, but there are certain steps a person can take to lower their risk.

Actions that may lower the risk of breast cancer include:

  • Get to a healthy weight: High body weight and weight gain as an adult increase the risk of breast cancer after menopause. The

Several benign breast conditions can cause symptoms that resemble those of cancer. Some of these issues require treatment, while others go away on their own.

Though these conditions are benign, they can cause:

  • discomfort or pain

Some common benign breast conditions include:

If a person is unsure what is causing any breast-related symptom, they should talk with a doctor as soon as possible.

As with most cancers, early breast cancer detection and treatment leads to a better outcome. People should attend regular breast examinations and tell a doctor about any breast-related symptoms or changes.

According to the ACS , when a doctor diagnoses breast cancer before it has spread beyond the breast, the relative 5-year survival rate is 99%.

Relative survival rates can help people understand the likelihood of treatment being successful. A relative 5-year survival rate indicates the percentage of people living 5 years after their diagnosis compared to people without the disease.

When breast cancer has spread beyond the breast to the lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 86%. The same survival rate for cancer that has spread to other organs is 29%.

How Does A Mammogram Work

A mammogram uses an X-ray machine thats designed to only look at breast tissue. The machine takes X-rays at lower doses than X-rays used to look at your bones.

During a mammogram, you place your breast on a support plate attached to the X-ray machine. A technologist then squeezes your breast with a parallel plate called a paddle. The machine produces X-rays that pass through your breast to a detector located on the opposite side. The detector transmits electronic signals to a computer to form a digital image. These images are called mammograms.

Breast compression is necessary for a mammogram to hold your breast still and minimize movement, which can cause the X-rays to look blurry. Compression also evens out the shape of your breast so that the X-rays can travel through a shorter path to reach the detector. This allows for a lower radiation dose and improves the quality of the image.

Types Of Mammography Imaging

A screening mammogram is performed at regular intervals to check for breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. Screening mammograms have been performed since the 1970s. A diagnostic mammogram is used to check for breast cancer when there is a sign or symptom of disease, or to evaluate an abnormality seen on a screening mammogram. A diagnostic mammogram is monitored by the radiologist at the time of the examination. Diagnostic mammography starts with the same images as a screening mammogram and may also include additional images taken to evaluate an area of concern. Symptoms can include a lump, nipple discharge, skin or nipple retraction, or a change in the size or shape of the breast. Symptoms can be due to breast cancer, but are more often due to benign conditions. Breast pain, in particular, is very rarely due to cancer unless there is also a lump .

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What Are Some Common Uses Of The Procedure

Mammograms are used as a screening tool to detect early breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms. They can also be used to detect and diagnose breast disease in women experiencing symptoms such as a lump, pain, skin dimpling or nipple discharge.

Screening MammographyMammography plays a central part in early detection of breast cancers because it can show changes in the breast years before a patient or physician can feel them. Current guidelines from the American College of Radiology and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network 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 ACR and the National Cancer Institute also suggest that women who have had breast cancer, and those who are at increased risk due to a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, should seek expert medical advice about whether they should begin screening before age 40 and the need for other types of screening. If you are at high risk for breast cancer, you may need to obtain a breast MRI in addition to your annual mammogram.

See the Breast Cancer Treatment page for information about breast cancer therapy.

When To Expect Mammography Results

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Some centers give you the results of your mammogram at the time of your screening. With others, it may take up to 2 weeks to get your results.

If you dont get your results within 2 weeks, contact your health care provider or the mammography center.

Dont assume the results were normal because you didnt get a report. Follow up to get your results.

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Why Is Breast Density Important

Breast density is important for two main reasons:

  • Women who have dense breast tissue have a higher risk of breast cancer compared to women with less dense breast tissue. Its unclear at this time why dense breast tissue is linked to breast cancer risk. It may be that dense breast tissue has more cells that can develop into abnormal cells.
  • Dense breast tissue also makes it harder for radiologists to see cancer on mammograms. Dense breast tissue looks white on a mammogram. Breast masses and cancers can also look white, so the dense tissue can make it harder to see them. In contrast, fatty tissue looks almost black on a mammogram, so its easier to see a tumor that looks white if most of the breast is fat tissue.

Breasts With Dense Fibroglandular Tissue And Less Fatty Tissue Increase A Womans Risk Of Breast Cancer At The Same Time This Knowledge Hasnt Translated Into Greater Follow

It is well known that women with dense fibroglandular tissue in their breasts have an increased risk of breast cancer, compared to the average. But theres no way for a woman to know if her breast tissue puts her at increased risk without an image from a mammogram.

Dense fibroglandular tissue in the breast is made up of milk glands and connective tissue. It will appear as areas of white or light grey in mammography images. Fatty tissue, by comparison, appears black or dark grey in the images. Essentially, lighter images mean denser tissue, which doctors and radiologists describe as mammographic density.

Since the risk of breast cancer is greater in women with a high proportion of fibroglandular tissue , Norwegian researchers have wondered if they can use mammographic density as a way to increase their accuracy when checking for tumours in the countrys mammography screening programme, which is offered to women older than 50.

Should women with breasts with greater mammographic density be offered more frequent screening or other screening methods in addition to mammography? This is called stratified screening, and is offered in the United States, for example.

Nataliia Moshina, a medical doctor and PhD candidate, wanted to see whether the Norwegian mammography programme should be modified in view of this information.

Bigger tumours

Moshinas research was based on data from women who participated in the Norwegian Mammography Programme for 20 years, between 1996 and 2015.

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When Should I Get A Mammogram

Several organizations and professional societies have developed guidelines for mammography screening. You can read more about these recommendations on their websites below. All recommend that women talk with their doctor about the benefits and potential harms of mammography, when to start screening, and how often to be screened.

Who Interprets The Results And How Do I Get Them

Early detection of breast cancer via a mammogram saves lives

A radiologist, a doctor trained to supervise and interpret radiology examinations, will analyze the images. The radiologist will send a signed report to your primary care or referring physician who will discuss the results with you.

You will also be notified of the results by the mammography facility.

You may need a follow-up exam. If so, your doctor will explain why. Sometimes a follow-up exam further evaluates a potential issue with more views or a special imaging technique. It may also see if there has been any change in an issue over time. Follow-up exams are often the best way to see if treatment is working or if a problem needs attention.

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Why Does Breast Cancer Build Up Fluid

This fluid buildup occurs because cancer cells have blocked lymph vessels in the skin, preventing the normal flow of lymph through the tissue. Sometimes the breast may contain a solid tumor that can be felt during a physical exam, but more often a tumor cannot be felt. Other symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer include a rapid increase in breast

How Does The Procedure Work

X-rays are a form of radiation like light or radio waves. X-rays pass through most objects, including the body. The technologist carefully aims the x-ray beam at the area of interest. The machine produces a small burst of radiation that passes through your body. The radiation records an image on photographic film or a special detector.

Different parts of the body absorb the x-rays in varying degrees. Dense bone absorbs much of the radiation while soft tissue allow more of the x-rays to pass through them. As a result, bones appear white on the x-ray, soft tissue shows up in shades of gray, and air appears black.

Most x-ray images are electronically stored digital files. Your doctor can easily access these stored images to diagnose and manage your condition.

In conventional film and digital mammography, a stationery x-ray tube captures an image from the side and an image from above the compressed breast. In breast tomosynthesis, the x-ray tube moves in an arc over the breast, capturing multiple images from different angles.

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What Is The Best Treatment For Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Hormone therapy: If the cells of a womans inflammatory breast cancer contain hormone receptors, hormone therapy is another treatment option. Drugs such as tamoxifen, which prevent estrogen from binding to its receptor, and aromatase inhibitors such as letrozole, which block the bodys ability to make estrogen, can cause estrogen-dependent cancer cells to stop growing and die.

What Happens During A Mammogram

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The actual mammogram takes 10 to 15 minutes, but your appointment can take up to an hour. This includes changing clothes, having the examination, and your mammographer making sure the images are clear enough for the radiologist to look at.

During the mammogram, you will stand in front of the mammography machine. This is a tall machine with two flat plates and a tube on top. The mammographer will adjust the machine to your height and then rest your breast on the bottom plate. The top plate, called the compression plate, will lower onto your breast. The mammographer may ask you to take a deep breath before doing this.

When the breast is flattened between the plates, the machine will take the X-rays from the tube above the breast. This is uncomfortable, but does not last long. Some people do experience pain during a mammogram, but if you feel severe pain or if your skin is pinched, tell the mammographer.

For a screening mammogram, you will need several pictures of each breast. A diagnostic mammogram may need more. The mammographer might have you change positions a few times. After you are done, they make sure the pictures are clear. They may retake any pictures that are not clear. When the mammogram is finished, you can go back to your usual activities right away.

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What Does It Mean When A Mammogram Shows A False Positive

A false positive is when a mammogram shows an abnormal area that looks like a cancer but turns out to be normal. Ultimately, the news is good: no breast cancer. But the suspicious area usually requires follow-up with more than one doctor, extra tests, and extra procedures, including a possible biopsy.

Watch Your Alcohol Consumption

You can also significantly decrease your breast cancer risk by watching your alcohol intake. You should not consume more than a unit of alcohol per day. If you usually drink more than seven units of alcohol weekly and struggle with your weight, you will probably find weight loss easier.

The less alcohol you consume daily, the more likely it is that you will wake up hydrated, well-nourished, and clear-headed. Therefore, it is more likely that you will have the mental clarity and physical and mental energy necessary to make healthy choices conducive to weight loss. Furthermore, your weekly calorie consumption will decrease. This decrease will add up week after week to significant weight loss over time.

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How Should I Prepare For My Mammogram

Prior to your breast X-ray, you will need to shave your armpits. You may not apply antiperspirant, lotion, cream, powder, or deodorant to your underarms. Additionally, you should not apply any cosmetics, like moisturizer, to your breasts. You may wear whatever you want to your appointment, but we recommend comfy pants or shorts because you will need to be topless during your breast imaging.

Women who are still menstruating should strongly consider scheduling their breast X-ray for shortly after their menstrual period has ended. Some women experience breast discomfort during X-rays in the seven days preceding menses or during menses. If you dont usually experience breast pain or discomfort around this time, this consideration may not apply to you.

Peeling Scaling Or Flaking Skin

Woman initially denied a mammogram diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer l GMA

Dont immediately be alarmed if you notice peeling, scaling, or flaking on your breasts or the skin around your nipples. This is a symptom of breast cancer, but it can also be a symptom of atopic dermatitis, eczema, or another skin condition.

After an exam, your doctor may run tests to rule out Pagets disease, which is a type of breast cancer affecting the nipples. It can also cause these symptoms.

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How Many Interval Cases Of Breast Cancer Are There

About two-thirds of the breast cancers were detected by screening, and one-third were discovered between screenings. Among the 1,050 interval cases, 324 were diagnosed within the first year after a negative mammogram, and 726 interval cases were diagnosed later, one to two-and-a-half years after a negative mammogram.

Do I Need To Worry About Abnormal Images

One out of 10 women who undergo screening have abnormal-looking breasts. There are many reasons why this may be the case, including dense breast tissue, non-cancerous tumors, and cysts. Depending on how your images look, you may need to come back in for more X-rays. In only one or two out of 100 cases, a biopsy is necessary.

Note that even if a biopsy is recommended, you may not have breast cancer. Only 20% of women who have their breast biopsied have a malignant tumor. You should also note that 3D mammography is a great biopsy alternative if 2D mammography images indicate an abnormality. The images captured with 3D mammography are extremely detailed because they are done millimeter by millimeter. This doesnt take much longer than 2D mammography.

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Schedule Your 3d Mammogram Today

Having regular 3D mammograms performed by an experienced board-certified breast imaging specialist is the best way to detect abnormalities early. Visit PURE Mammography in Lake Grove today, no appointment necessary. You can also call or fill out the form on this page to pre-schedule an appointment or learn more about PURE.

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What Does The Mammography Equipment Look Like


A mammography unit is a box with a tube that produces x-rays. The unit is used exclusively for breast x-ray exams and features special accessories to limit x-ray exposure to only the breast. The unit features a device to hold and compress the breast and position it so the technologist can capture images at different angles.

Breast tomosynthesis is performed using digital mammography units, but not all digital mammography machines are equipped to perform tomosynthesis imaging.

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What Is Tomosynthesis

Digital Breast Tomosynthesis, also known as 3D mammography, is an FDA-approved method for breast cancer screening in which x-rays of the breast are taken at different angles to generate thin cross-sections. The 3D representation of the breast is similar to the 3d images created by standard CT technology. Tomosynthesis differs from CT technology in that significantly fewer x-ray beams are projected through the breast than with CT and the x-ray exposure to the rest of the chest is dramatically reduced. Hence, the radiation dose delivered to the breast by tomosynthesis is similar to that delivered 2D mammography. While tomosynthesis uses very low-dose x-rays, it is currently most often used in addition to 2D mammography, making the total radiation dose higher than standard mammography. Early evaluations of 3D mammography suggest an improved detection of breast cancers than seen with 2D mammography, but extensive large-scale comparisons of tomosynthesis with 2D mammography in randomized studies are still in process. Therefore, researchers do not know with full certainty whether 3D mammography is better or worse than standard mammography at avoiding false-positive results and identifying early cancers in all types of patients.

How Mammography Works

The breast is placed on the surface of the mammography system and is briefly squeezed between two paddles for a few seconds while an x-ray is taken. In a screening mammogram, x-rays of each breast are taken from two different positions to make sure the maximum amount of tissue is included. Sometimes additional images are needed to fully include all the breast tissue. The total examination takes about 10 minutes. Compression reduces the amount of radiation needed to penetrate the tissue and also spreads out the breast tissue to help produce clearer images. Compression also reduces motion which can blur the image and cause abnormalities to be missed.

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