Benefits of Mammography
Mammography is the most reliable method for identifying breast cancer in its earliest stages – when it’s easiest to cure. With early detection and treatment, 90 percent of all breast cancers can be cured. Mammography uses low dose X-ray to create vivid images of the breast tissue.
Current guidelines from the American Cancer Society recommend that women have a mammogram every year beginning at age 40. An annual mammogram should be part of every woman’s breast care, along with monthly self-examinations and annual physical checkups.
Mammography is primarily used as a breast cancer screening tool. It is also used to identify abnormalities in the breast, such as a lump that can be felt by hand or abnormal nipple discharge. If a patient needs a breast biopsy, surgeons rely on mammograms to pinpoint the exact location of the lesion.
How It Works
The exam usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes. The mammographer takes two images of each breast from different angles. The breast is carefully placed on a special surface and then tightly, but gently, compressed by an acrylic paddle. This allows for reduced X-ray exposure and better detail on the image. The procedure is somewhat uncomfortable but generally not painful and it is over quickly. Board-certified radiologists interpret the mammograms, identifying any areas of concern. A report is sent to your physician, and a letter is also mailed to you with the results. If a questionable area is seen on your mammogram, the radiologist may recommend further tests.
The Digital Difference
BCH had the first facility in Boulder County to offer the latest advance in diagnosing breast cancer -- digital mammography.
A digital mammogram not only produces quicker results, it uses less radiation than standard film mammography and offers other significant advantages for patients—shorter exam times, reduced need for repeat mammograms and more accurate detection of abnormalities.
Medical studies indicate digital mammography is better at screening women in three specific categories: those under age 50, of any age with extremely dense breast tissue and pre- or perimenopausal women of any age.
A digital mammogram creates images that are displayed on special computers. This allows our radiologists to manipulate the images of breast tissue for more accurate detection of abnormalities. This system also improves our radiologists’ ability to communicate important clinical information to other physicians.
- If caffeine increases the tenderness of your breasts, you may want to eliminate caffeine from your diet for two weeks before your mammogram.
- If you have premenstrual breast tenderness, it’s best to schedule your mammogram after your period has ended.
- Do not use any lotion, powder or deodorant on your breast or under your arms the day of the exam.
- Please wear a two-piece outfit as you will be asked to remove your blouse and bra and wear a gown that will be removed for the procedure.
Bring Your Prior Mammograms and Reports
If you’ve had a mammogram before, the radiologist would like to compare them with the new ones being taken. If your previous mammogram was taken at another health facility, please bring them with you to your appointment.
You also can arrange to have your mammograms sent directly to the facility where your exam is scheduled.
Digital mammography is provided at four locations:
Foothills Hospital, 48th and Arapahoe, Boulder.
Community Medical Center, 1000 W. South Boulder Road, Lafayette.
Boulder Medical Center, 2750 Broadway, Boulder.
Medical Imaging Center, 36 Garden Center, Broomfield.
To schedule an appointment at Foothills Hospital or Community Medical Center, please call 303-440-2170 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
To schedule an appointment at Boulder Medical Center, please call 303-440-3029 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
To schedule an appointment at Medical Imaging Center, please call 303-466-1234 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Qualification and Accreditation
The Imaging Departments at Foothills Hospital and Boulder Medical Center have been designated as Breast Cancer Centers of Excellence by the American College of Radiology.
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