Mammography uses low dose X-rays to exam the breast. Mammography is considered the most effective tool for the earliest detection of breast tumors. Mammography can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them.
At Pleasanton Diagnostic Imaging, we use full-field digital mammography, as well as 3-D mammography and MRI breast imaging, to achieve the most detailed and accurate diagnostic images possible.
The use of computer-aided detection (CAD) is used on all mammograms and breast MRIs. CAD is a computer-based process designed to analyze mammographic images for suspicious areas; in effect, it is a second pair of eyes for the radiologist.
Make an appointment
Call us at 925-467-1400 to schedule an appointment for a mammogram.
What are the advantages of digital mammography and computer-aided detection?
Digital mammography offers several benefits to the patient:
- Lower radiation dose than conventional mammography. It also eliminates the darkroom process for films, which significantly decreases exam times, and improves image access, transmission, retrieval, and storage.
- Superior contrast resolution, which makes it easier for physicians to detect subtle differences between tissues. Following a mammogram, the radiologist can adjust brightness, contrast and other settings on the digital images, making it possible to more readily detect breast cancers.
- CAD obtains a second, computerized mammography reading at the same time as the digital mammography, with the goal of finding more cancers and more accurately gauging signs of malignancy. This means faster, more accurate results.
How often should I have a mammogram?
Current guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the American College of Radiology (ACR) recommend a mammography screening every year for women, beginning at age 40.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recommends that women who have had breast cancer, and those who are at increased risk due to a genetic history of breast cancer, should seek expert medical advice about the frequency of screening and whether they should begin screening before age 40.
When should I schedule my mammogram?
Before scheduling a mammogram, see your doctor to discuss any problems or concerns you have with your breasts. Inform your doctor of hormone use, any prior surgeries, and your family or personal history of breast cancer.
If you tend to have sensitive breasts, the best time to have a mammogram is one week following your period. Try not schedule your mammogram the week before your period if your breasts are usually tender during this time. Please inform your mammography technologist if there is any possibility that you are pregnant.
How should I prepare for a mammogram?
No prior preparation is required for a mammogram. Please avoid using any perfumes, deodorants, or lotions around breast area before your exam.
Learn more about preparing for your visit.
What should I expect during this exam?
A licensed mammography technologist will perform your exam. The technologist will position your breast on a special platform on the mammography unit.
During the exam, the technologist will gradually compress your breast with a clear plastic paddle. Breast compression is necessary for several reasons:
- To even out the breast thickness so all of the tissue can be visualized and small abnormalities will not be obscured
- To decrease X-ray dose
- To hold the breast still and eliminate blurring of the image caused by motion
- To reduce X-ray scatter to increase image sharpness
Our technologist will position you for two projections of each breast. Standard views are top-to-bottom and a side view.
For more information on what to expect, watch a video from Hologic.
What will I experience during this exam?
A mammogram exam takes about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of images needed.
You will feel pressure on your breast as it is compressed by the compression paddle. Women with sensitive breasts may experience some minor discomfort during this time. Please let your technologist know if pain as compression increases and she will work with your comfort level.