Breast Cancer Screening
Thanks to early detection and better treatments, most breast cancer is detected at a curable stage. As a result, there are now three million breast cancer survivors living in the USA. Since we do not yet know how to prevent breast cancer, early detection offers the best chance for survival.
When and how often should I get a mammogram?
Mammography detects breast cancer long before it can be seen or felt in your breast. The current screening recommendations for women of average risk (meaning you do not have a family or personal medical history that puts you at high risk for breast cancer) include:
- Age 20-39: Clinical breast exam every two to three years. Breast self-exam is an option.
- Age 40: Baseline mammography starts at this age. Then, after 40, annual mammograms are required.
- Elderly women: Continue annual screening for as long as you are reasonably healthy and would be a candidate for breast cancer treatment.
- If you've been told you have dense breast tissue, you should be aware that this could obscure a potential abnormality; for this reason, breast ultrasound and/or MRI are often used in conjunction with mammography to screen for breast cancer. The only way to know if your tissue is dense is by having a mammogram. We will let you know if your tissue is dense, and if so, can perform screening ultrasound at the same appointment as your mammogram.
The Breast Center was among the first in the United States to use 3D Breast tomosynthesis (commonly called 3D mammography) for breast screening. This technology is used in conjunction with 2D digital mammography to deliver the most accurate screening and diagnostic breast imaging. At Stamford Health, there is no additional charge for this advanced screening modality.
Advantages of 3D Mammography
Numerous large studies have shown that 3D mammography results in up to a 40% increase in the detection of invasive breast cancer and 15% fewer unnecessary recalls and false positives. 3D mammography has also been shown to decrease the number of unnecessary biopsies. Here's how and why:
- Higher resolution, more definitive images
- Greater accuracy for the earliest detection of breast cancer, at its most curable stage
- Clearer visualization of overlapping structures (Note: This does not replace the need for dense breast ultrasounds.)
- Multiple images from a variety of angles are captured during one sweep of the x-ray tube to provide a variety of views
- Less likelihood of needing additional imaging or an unnecessary biopsy
At the Breast Center, we look at breast health differently, considering not only your clinical needs but your emotional ones. We’ll help you know your risk and give you better options to find breast cancer early, using innovative technology and approaches. Three-dimensional mammography means better detection and fewer callbacks because we commit to same-day screening results whenever possible. We are a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, designated by the American College of Radiology.