A screening mammogram is ordered for women who have no problems with their breasts. Screening mammograms usually involve taking two views of each breast from different angles. When the radiologist reads the screening mammogram films and sees an area that is questionable, unclear, abnormal or varies from your previous film, you will be asked to return for additional views or further evaluation of the area. This does not mean that you have cancer; rather, it means that the radiologist needs additional information to be more confident that the suspicious area is clearly a normal finding.
Additional views of the area may be taken at different angles. Special mammography views may include magnification views of the area or focal/spot compression views. Both techniques are used to make a small area of breast tissue easier to see on the mammography film. Breast ultrasound may be used to further define what the radiologist is questioning.
Please remember that women who are recalled for additional or special views should not be alarmed. Your radiologist is simply being thorough and carefully reviewing any questionable finding.
NOTE - Screening mammography is appropriate for anyone who does not present with any abnormal breast symptoms, such as:
- Breast lump
- Breast pain or tenderness
- Nipple discharge
- Nipple retraction
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact your physician so that the appropriate exam may be ordered. National guidelines recommend diagnostic imaging for any of these conditions.
Genius™ 3D Mammography™
NMMC offers the Genius™ 3D Mammography™ exam. 3D mammography can be beneficial for women with dense breasts.
Conventional mammograms provide doctors with a two-dimensional image to evaluate the breast. 3D mammography, which delivers a series of detailed images, can reduce callbacks and provide greater accuracy.
Talk to your doctor to find out if you are a candidate for 3D mammography.
Microcalcifications are some of the diagnostic markers our radiologists, who are breast imaging specialists, look for while evaluating your mammogram.
Most often, microcalcifications are benign. Only a small percentage are indicative of cancer. In order to evaluate them, we often request additional magnification films (X-rays).
Microcalcifications are seen in the soft tissues of the body, including the breasts, in which there are many benign structures that can calcify. One of the most common reasons for breast microcalcification development is normal breast metabolism. This is not related to dietary intake.
Unfortunately, some cancers also produce microcalcifications, which can be one of the first signs that a small breast cancer may be present. By looking at the size, shape and distribution of the microcalcifications, the radiologist can detect whether these microcalcifications may indicate a possible malignancy.
Sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate benign from suspicious microcalcifications on the mammogram. After careful review of the films, the radiologist will make one of several recommendations. If the microcalcifications are felt to be benign, short-term follow-up examinations will be recommended. When the microcalcifications are indeterminate, other recommendations are made. If the radiologist feels that tissue is needed for a diagnosis, an appointment will be scheduled for a surgical consult.