According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States. It is also one of the leading causes of cancer death among women of all races.
In 2008 (the most recent year numbers are available), 210,203 women in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer, and 40,589 women died from the disease.
Every major medical organization with demonstrated expertise in breast cancer care including: American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Cancer Society and American College of Radiology, recommends that women age 40 or older have routine screening mammograms every year.
Baseline mammograms could begin as early as age 35. Women at high risk for developing breast cancer, particularly those with a first degree relative who has had breast cancer, should talk with their doctor about screening at a younger age, along with additional imaging studies.
The Women's Diagnostic department at Abilene Regional Medical Center is a proud to offer a variety of breast cancer screening techniques.
Screening and Diagnostic Mammography
A conventional screening mammogram is a low-dose X-ray test that creates images of breast tissue so doctors can check for lesions or other abnormalities. The x-ray images make it possible to detect tumors that cannot be felt, and can find microcalcifications (tiny deposits of calcium) that sometimes indicate the presence of breast cancer.
A mammogram used to check for breast cancer after a lump or other sign or symptom of the disease is called a diagnostic mammogram. Besides a lump, signs of breast cancer can include breast pain, thickening of the skin of the breast, nipple discharge, or a change in breast size or shape; however, these signs may also be signs of benign or non-cancerous breast conditions.
At the Women's Diagnostic department at ARMC, women who undergo routine mammograms also have up-to-date diagnostic technology available with digital mammography.
While digital imaging feels almost identical to conventional mammography, its benefits are a shorter exam time than traditional mammograms, and less chance that patients will be called back for repeat exams.
Digital images tend to provide doctors with better visibility of the breast, chest wall and dense breast tissue. Through computer-aided technology, radiologists are able to enhance certain areas of the digital images to get a more precise picture of a patient's condition. The digital images can also be stored electronically, and later retrieved to share with other doctors if needed in the future.
To minimize any discomfort of the mammogram, ARMC offers soft foam pads which serve as a cushion between a woman's breast and the mammography machine, resulting in a warmer and more comfortable mammogram. Although compression is still required, the pads provide an extra level of cushion for the patient.
Digital Computer-Aided Detectio
To supplement this diagnostic technology, ARMC has a digital computer-aided detection (CAD) system which highlights common characteristics of breast cancer, including masses, clusters of microcalcifications and breast tissue changes.
The professionals at Abilene Regional Medical Center are ready to provide the breast screening technique that is appropriate for the individual woman.
Visit www.AbileneRegional.com to learn more about the breast screening options.
For more information on various breast diseases and conditions, the anatomy of the breasts, other screening tools and more, click here.
- Another Viewpoint