Mammography is a routine breast imaging tool that is used to detect the presence and progression of breast cancer. As the use of mammograms have become more widespread, breast cancer deaths have declined making mammograms a vital life-saving procedure in women’s’ health.
A mammogram is a very low dose x-ray of the breast using specialized equipment and technologists. This technique provides the sharpest images of the inner structures of the breast and has been developed to detect small cancers much sooner than physical examination. Mammograms can be used to detect cancer as well as other breast tissue abnormalities.
Digital mammography equipment has been specially adapted to the female anatomy enabling radiologists to view and manipulate images on high-resolution computer monitors. This provides more complete images and enhanced visualization of breast tissue structures. The radiologist can also focus on specific areas to help detect small calcifications, masses, and other changes that may indicate early signs of cancer. The result is improved productivity and accuracy for radiologists.
How often should I have a mammogram?
Nuclear stress test is an imaging method that uses radioactive material to show how well blood flows into the heart muscle, both at rest and during activity.
A nuclear stress test is one of several types of stress tests. The radiotracer used during a nuclear stress test helps your doctor determine your risk of a heart attack or other cardiac event if you have coronary artery disease. A nuclear stress test may be done after a regular exercise stress test to get more information about your heart, or it may be the first stress test used.
When should I schedule my mammogram?
Before scheduling a mammogram, you should discuss problems in your breasts with your doctor. In addition, inform your doctor of hormone use, any prior surgeries and family or personal history of breast cancer. Generally, the best time is one week following your period. Do not schedule your mammogram for the week before your period if your breasts are usually tender during this time. Always inform your doctor and technologist if there is any possibility that you are pregnant.
How should I prepare for this procedure?
A nuclear stress test involves injecting a radioactive tracer, then taking two sets of images of your heart — one while you're at rest and another after exercise.
You will receive a drug/medication through an IV that mimics exercise by increasing blood flow to your heart. The test will take two or more hours, depending on the radioactive tracer and imaging tests used.
When the test is complete, you may return to normal activities unless your doctor tells you otherwise. The radioactive tracer will naturally leave your body in your urine or stool. Drink plenty of water to help flush the tracer out of your system.
What can I expect during the procedure?
To image your breast, an x-ray technician will position you near the machine and your breast will be placed on a platform and compressed with a paddle. Breast compression is necessary in order to:
- Even out the breast thickness – so that all of the tissue can be visualized
- Spread out the tissue – so that small abnormalities won’t be obscured
- Allow use of a lower x-ray dose
- Hold the breast still – to eliminate blurring of the image caused by motion
- Reduce x-ray scatter – to increase picture sharpness
The technologist will go behind a glass shield while making the x-ray exposure. You will be asked to change positions slightly between views. The process is repeated for the other breast. Routine views are a top-to-bottom and side view.
What will I experience during the procedure?
The exam takes about 30 minutes. The technologist will apply compression on your breast and, as a result, you will feel pressure on the breast as it is squeezed by the compressor. Some women with sensitive breasts may experience some minor discomfort. Be sure to inform the technologist if pain occurs as compression is increased. If discomfort is significant, less compression will be used.
Digital Mammography at Centrelake Imaging
Centrelake Imaging & Oncology is proud to feature full-field digital mammography systems. Our network is one of the first installations incorporating this cutting edge technology in the Inland Empire and extended this to the San Gabriel Valley.
Compared with standard mammograms, which are recorded on film, computer-based digital mammograms are more accurate, especially in women under 50, those with dense breast tissue, and those who are premenopausal.
Digital mammograms provide many benefits for women and their doctors, including:
- High resolution, high quality imaging.
- Refined detection tools which provide enhanced accuracy.
- Reduced need for retakes and repeated procedures.
- Quicker procedures with less time spent in the exam room.
- Ordering physician receive results more quickly.
- Digital files enable quick and easy sharing with the patient’s entire healthcare team.
Arrange Your Next Mammogram at Centrelake Imaging
Digital mammography services are available at our Anaheim, Chino, Covina, Downey, El Monte, Hemet, Ontario, Pomona and , West Covina locations. All of Centrelake Imaging’s digital mammogram facilities are accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR).