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Peninsula Imaging is proud to be the first to offer an exciting new technology to Maryland’s lower Eastern Shore – breast tomosynthesis or 3D mammography. Tomosynthesis is the single most significant advancement in breast cancer detection in 30 years. Breast tomosynthesis uses high-powered computing to convert digital breast images into a stack of very thin layers or “slices” – building what is essentially a “3-dimensional mammogram”. Our investment in this technology makes it possible for Radiologists to see breast tissue detail in a way never before possible. Instead of viewing all the complexities of breast tissue in a flat image, the Radiologist can examine the breast in one millimeter slices at a time. Fine details are more clearly visible, no longer hidden by the tissue above and below. Conventional mammograms take only one picture, across the entire breast, in two directions: top to bottom and side to side – resulting in 4 flattened images. With 3D mammography, numerous images are collected and reconstructed into thin slices of breast tissue. It is similar to being able to read each page of a book rather than peering through all the pages at once.


Why is tomosynthesis a better mammogram?

  • Better cancer detection – Recent large clinical studies have demonstrated a significant increase in the rate of cancer detection with 3D tomosynthesis over conventional mammograms. Furthermore, the cancers detected are often smaller and therefore caught in time for a potential cure.

  • Reducing the need for additional testing. 3-D mammography is better at distinguishing harmless abnormalities from real cancers leading to fewer “callbacks.” A “callback” occurs when a mammogram picks up something suspicious and the Radiologist requests the patient to return for additional views or an Ultrasound. For most women, getting “called back” usually turns out to be nothing worrisome. The American Cancer Society statistics show fewer than 10 percent of women called back for additional testing are diagnosed with breast cancer. For some women, just the thought of having a mammogram creates anxiety. This naturally worsens if she is called back. With the addition of 3-D mammography, patients can be confident that they are getting the best test possible resulting in fewer callbacks.

  • Breast Density – You may have noticed your annual mammogram report shows a breast composition category. This tells you how dense your breast tissue is. Breast density is based on how much fibrous tissue is present. Having dense breast tissue is not abnormal. In fact, about 40% of women have dense breasts. However, it is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer as compared to women whose breast are less dense. As you can imagine, finding small cancers in dense breasts is challenging. 3D mammography promises to be especially beneficial for women with dense breasts because the Radiologist is able to visualize a thin layer of breast tissue at a time.
 

Help Center

How often should I have a mammogram?
What is the difference between a traditional mammogram and a 3D mammogram?
What is the difference between screening and diagnostic mammograms?
When should I schedule my mammogram?
How should I prepare for a mammogram?
What can I expect during the procedure?
What will I experience during the procedure?
Who will read my mammogram?
When and how will I find out the results of my mammogram?
Do you have dense breasts?
Are there any health risks from having a mammogram?


How often should I have a mammogram?

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Peninsula Imaging is accredited by the American College of Radiology; therefore, we follow the ACR practice parameter for the performance of screening mammography. ACR recommends annual screening for asymptomatic women age 40 and older who are at average risk for breast cancer.

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What is the difference between a traditional mammogram and a 3D mammogram?

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Digital mammography uses a specially designed digital camera and a computer to produce an image that is displayed on a high-resolution computer monitor. Although an adequate breast cancer screening tool, digital mammography produces only a 2-dimensional picture of the breast. Traditional mammograms take only one picture, across the entire breast, in two directions: top to bottom and side to side – flattened images.

With 3D mammography or digital breast tomosynthesis multiple pictures are collected and reconstructed into thin slices of breast tissue. Breast tomosynthesis uses high-powered computing to convert digital breast images into a stack of very thin layers or “slices’ – building what is essentially a “3-dimensional mammogram”. This technology makes it possible for the radiologist to see breast tissue detail in a way never before possible.

Instead of viewing all the complexities of breast tissue in a flat image, the doctor can examine the tissue a millimeter at a time. It is similar to being able to read each page of a book rather than trying to peer through all the pages at once. The radiation dose for 3D mammography is equal to that of conventional mammograms.

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What is the difference between screening and diagnostic mammograms?

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A screening mammogram is a routine test for women who are symptom-free. Mammography plays a central role in the early detection of breast cancers because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Research has shown that annual mammograms lead to early detection of breast cancers, when they are most curable and breast-conservation therapies are available.

A diagnostic mammogram is used to evaluate a patient with abnormal clinical findings such as a breast lump or lumps that have been found by you or your doctor. Diagnostic mammography may also be done after an abnormal screening mammography in order to evaluate the area of concern on the screening exam. When the examination is complete, you will be asked to wait until the radiologist determines that all the necessary images have been obtained.

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When should I schedule my mammogram?

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Prior to scheduling your mammogram, you should discuss any breast problems with your doctor. Inform your doctor of any hormone use, prior surgeries and family or personal history of breast cancer. You will want to avoid scheduling your mammogram the week before your period if your breasts are usually tender at that time. The best time for a mammogram is one week following your menstrual period. Be sure to always inform your x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that you may be pregnant.

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How should I prepare for a mammogram?

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On the day of your exam, do not wear lotion, deodorant or powder under your arms or on your breasts as these products may interfere with the images taken of the breasts. You will need to remove clothing from the waist up. We recommend that you dress comfortably in a two-piece outfit to make it easy to undress from the waist up. You will be provided with a short gown that opens in the front. Inform our x-ray technologist of any problems you may be experiencing with your breasts.

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What can I expect during the procedure?

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Our Radiologic Technologist (a woman specializing in mammographic imaging) will position you standing near the machine and your breast will be placed on a contoured platform and compressed with a contoured translucent plastic plate. During compression the machine will move in a quick arc over the breast as it takes a series of images at various angles. It is necessary to compress the breast in order to:
  • Even out the breast thickness so that all of the tissue can be visualized.
  • Allow use of a lower x-ray dose.
  • Hold the breast still to eliminate blurring of the image caused by motion.
  • Reduce x-ray scatter to increase picture sharpness.
You will be asked to change positions between images. The routine views are a top-to-bottom view and a side view which will be performed for both breasts. You must hold very still and may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds while the x-ray picture is taken to reduce the possibility of a blurred image. The technologist will walk behind a barrier to activate the x-ray machine.

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What will I experience during the procedure?

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A routine screening mammogram will take about ½ hour; however, the procedure itself will last about 10 minutes. Our Technologist will compress the breast only during the brief time immediately before and during x-ray exposure. You will feel pressure on your breast as it is squeezed by the compression paddle. Our technologists are highly experienced and understand the need to balance patient comfort with optimal image quality. Be sure to inform the technologist if pain occurs as compression is increased. If discomfort is significant, less compression will be used. Patients with breast implants, large breasts or patients requiring special assistance may require more time for their procedures as well as patients requiring diagnostic exams.

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Who will read my mammogram?

Your mammogram will be read on-site by one of our 15 highly experienced Radiologists. All of our Radiologists are certified by the American Board of Radiology, have received special training in mammography and digital mammography and read a large volume of mammograms annually.

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When and how will I find out the results of my mammogram?

Peninsula Imaging Radiologists will send you a letter detailing your test results. Results are also forwarded to your referring physician. The vast majority of women receive a negative or normal report. Note: With the implementation of 3D mammography patients will be called back less frequently. However, it is not unusual to be called back within a few days of your mammogram with a request that you return for additional mammograms or an ultrasound exam of the breast. The great majority of "call-backs" prove to be negative or confirmatory of benign findings such as cysts, benign calcifications or lymph nodes. Therefore, if you are called back, please don't panic! The vast majority of screening mammograms will not show anything worrisome. In the event that one does, however, Peninsula Imaging has all the resources available to provide further work up including ultrasound and MRI. We encourage one on one interaction between patients and radiologists, who are more than willing to go over your findings. If it determined that a biopsy is necessary, they will personally navigate you through the process in a timely way, so you never feel as if you’re alone.

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Do I have dense breasts?

Your mammogram report will include your breast density composition. Dense breast tissue is very common and is not abnormal. About 40% of women have dense breasts. However, it may be associated with increased risk of breast cancer as it can be harder to find cancers in breasts that are dense. As 3D mammography allows the radiologist to view the breast in 1 millimeter layers this helps overcome the challenge of detecting cancers in dense breasts.

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Are there any health risks from having a mammogram?

Mammography techniques utilized today, including 3D or digital breast tomosynthesis, use very low-dose radiation. Special care is taken during x-ray examinations to use the lowest dose possible while producing the best images for evaluation. Peninsula Imaging has invested in the latest software technology known as C-view which allows for reduced patient radiation dose. Our equipment undergoes rigorous daily, weekly, monthly, and annual testing to insure optimal performance. The benefits of mammography in detecting breast cancer at an early stage outweigh the risks of radiation exposure. Imaging of the breast improves a physician's ability to detect small tumors. When cancers are small, the woman has more treatment options and a cure is more likely.

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