Digital Mamography - Union General Hospital

How safe are they?
Mammography has been used on
millions of women for over 25 years.
Like all X-rays, it involves limited
exposure to radiation; but the amount
required is small. Advances begun in
1987 in all areas of mammography
have dramatically reduced the
radiation dose.
I have breast implants. Can I
Still get a mammogram?
Most women with implants can have an
excellent mammogram. Because of the
additional views necessary in women with
implants, these women should expect to
have twice as many pictures taken of each
breast. They should not be excluded from
screening because of the implants. If you
have implants, check with the
technologists to be sure they are aware of
the specialized techniques. Otherwise the
exam may be inadequate. Also, advise the
clinic that you have breast implants at the
time of your booking, so extra time can be
allowed for your examination.
How do I get a
Know the facts about mammograms
Ask your doctor today for
assistance in making an
appointment with Union
General Hospital.
For more detailed information,
you can contact the National
Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer
Information Service at
Ask your doctor today for
assistance in making an
General Hospital for your
Union General Hospital
901 James Avenue
Farmerville, LA
The facts about mammograms
What is a
Mammography is a simple X-ray of the breast
that can detect cancers so small that even the
most experienced examiner cannot feel them.
The examination itself uses X-rays to view the
breast, usually from two angles. To get the
most accurate picture possible in each X-ray,
a special device gently squeezes the breast.
Although this may sound painful, it is only
slightly uncomfortable and the length of time
the breast is compressed is just a few seconds.
On the day of your exam, it is best to wear a
two-piece outfit. It is also best not to wear
lotions, powders or deodorant when you go
for your mammogram, as these can
interfere with mammographic image
quality. And you will therefore be asked to
remove them prior to your exam.
Who should get a
Eventually, all women should get a
mammogram. The American Cancer Society
offers the following guidelines to women who
are symptom-free:
• Women 20 and older should perform breast
self-examinations every month.
Women 20 to 39 should have a physical
breast examination every three years, and
women 40 and older should have one every
• Women 40 and older should have a
mammogram every year, or more
often for women at increased risk.
Women with personal or family histories
of breast cancer should consult their
doctors about the need for more frequent
or earlier mammography.
Why should I get
a mammogram?
Studies have shown that mammography saves
lives. The purpose of mammogram screenings
is to find issues before they are problems.
Ignoring the risk of breast cancer does not
diminish it.
The difference in quality and quantity of life in
women whose cancers are detected before
they cause symptoms, and those that aren’t, is
reason enough to have a mammogram.
Mammography, combined with physical
examination, could reduce the breast cancer
mortality rate by over 20-30 percent. But it is
important to discuss your treatment with
recommendations completely, and then act
on them.
When should I get
a mammogram?
The facts are that the risk of breast cancer
increases with age. So the older you get, the
more chance you have of developing breast
cancer. Unfortunately, the incidence of
breast cancer is also increasing in younger
women. That is why screening should begin
at age 40 or earlier for women at increased
The first mammogram serves as a baseline
or as a “comparison.” The purpose of regular
mammograms is to make sure that
everything stays the same and that nothing
new develops. This is one of the ways to find
those tiny cancers that are too small to be felt.
The American Cancer Society and numerous
other medical groups have determined that
women age 40 and older should have a yearly
mammogram. Women who have a family
history of breast cancer should have
mammograms more often (most recommend
yearly after age 35). Other risk factors include
other types of cancer such as colon cancer and
uterine cancer. Women with no children or
who have their first child after age 30 are also
at a higher risk for developing breast cancer.
How accurate is it?
Mammography has been used increasingly
since 1960 and is constantly being improved.
It is accurate about 90 percent of the time.
And it’s also why more and more doctors
are using mammography to help diagnose
breast cancer in its earliest, most treatable