IMAGING: DIGITAL MAMMOGRAPHY
COMMON QUESTIONS
Q.
What does "dense breast tissue"" mean or indicate?
A.
We notify you of your breast tissue density after each mammogram. The significance of breast density varies depending on your age and health history. Mammography – even digital mammography – does not image dense breast tissue as clearly as typical tissue. Because of this, depending on your risk for breast cancer, your physician may recommend ultrasound or MRI screenings of your breasts instead of mammography. You can use this tool to assess your breast cancer risk. Read more about density here.
Q.
Are there certifications for this procedure?
A.
Oregon Imaging Centers is MQSA-certified, which confirms we meet all the requirements of the Mammography Quality Standards Act. The standards for the Center of Excellence certification are particularly rigorous. This certification is awarded to breast imaging centers that achieve excellence by seeking and earning accreditation in all of the American College of Radiology's voluntary breast-imaging accreditation programs and modules, in addition to the mandatory Mammography Accreditation Program.
Q.
If 3D mammography is so much more accurate than 2D, why would I choose to have standard, 2D mammography?
A.
The most common reason to opt for 2D is that your insurance may not cover a 3D screening and analysis. There are two components to a mammogram bill: the imaging and the interpretation. Make sure your insurance provider will cover both. You can certainly have a 3D mammogram without coverage, but contact us to avoid billing surprises.
Q.
Why does the mammogram require applying such pressure to my breasts?
A.
Breast tissue is composed of super-imposed glandular tissue. Compression is used to keep each breast from moving, to reduce the amount of radiation used for the exposure, and to spread the breast tissue, making it easier to detect small cancers. Compression can make the difference between finding and missing a tiny cancer.
Q.
What is the recommended age for annual mammograms?
A.
If you are age 40 or over, you should have an annual mammogram. The only exception to this is if you have a family history of breast cancer, in which case you should discuss a schedule with your physician, and plan to start your mammograms earlier. Read more about why 40 is the best time to start annual screenings.
Q.
What can I do to make the experience more comfortable?
A.
If you have sensitive breasts, take Advil or Tylenol in advance of your appointment. If you are pre-menopausal and have breast pain related to your menstrual cycle, you may want to schedule your screening mammogram for the week following your period when breast tissue may be less tender. If possible, avoid scheduling your mammogram the week prior to your period. If you wear a two-piece outfit, you will be able to wear your pants or skirt during the procedure.