Breast Cancer: What cancer Screening is all about?
Mammography is specialized medical imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system to see inside the breasts, helps in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women.
Digital Mammography/ Full-Field Digital Mammography (FFDM)
This method to screen for breast cancer among women ages 40 to 75, especially those over age 50. High risk patient with family history of breast cancer should do the screening at an earlier age.
Digital Mammography and FFDM systems are similar to digital cameras and their efficiency allows better pictures with a lower radiation dose. These images of the breast are transmitted to a computer for review and for storage.
- Screening mammography decreases the risk of death due to breast cancer. It is valuable for identifying all types of breast cancer, including invasive ductal and invasive lobular cancer.
- Screening mammography expands a physician’s ability to detect small tumors. The woman has more treatment options when cancers are small.
- The use of screening mammography increases the detection of small abnormal tissue growths confined to the milk ducts in the breast, called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).
- No radiation remains in a patient’s body after an x-ray examination.
- X-rays usually have no side effects in the typical diagnostic range for this exam.
- There is always a small chance of cancer from excessive exposure to radiation. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far compensates the risk.
- False Positive Mammograms. Five percent to 15 percent of screening mammograms require more testing such as additional mammograms or ultrasound.
- If there is an abnormal finding, a follow-up or biopsy may have to be done. It is likely that a woman who has yearly mammograms between ages 40 and 49 has about a 30 percent chance of having a false-positive mammogram at some point in that decade and about a 7 percent to 8 percent chance of having a breast biopsy within the 10-year period.