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Digital Screening Mammography

1. What is digital screening mammography?

Screening mammography is a special X-ray used to image breast tissue for the early detection of breast cancer.

2. Why is it done?

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer among women in the United States. Regular mammogram screenings play a key role in the early detection of breast cancer, leading to earlier treatment and better outcomes.

Screening mammograms can help detect the earliest signs of breast cancer, long before there are signs or symptoms or observable breast abnormalities.  The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and older have a mammogram every year.  If breast cancer runs in your family, you may want to begin screenings much earlier. You can discuss your situation with your doctor for the best plan.

3. What are the risks?

Mammography does use X-rays, so you will be exposed to a very low dosage of radiation.  However, the levels of radiation used are so small that the risk of cell damage is extremely low and the benefits that screening Mammograms provide in early detection far outweigh any risks.  If you are pregnant or think you could be pregnant please inform your doctor or technologist as they may want to postpone your exam.

4. How should I prepare?

If this is the first time you have had a mammogram at our facility we ask that you please bring any prior mammograms with you so they can be compared with your new images. Original images and accompanying reports are preferred.

On the day of your mammogram you are asked to not wear any of the following: deodorants, antiperspirants, powders, lotions, creams or perfumes under your arms or on your breasts. The metallic particles in powders and deodorants could be visible on your mammogram and cause confusion.

We recommend that you schedule your test during a time when your breasts are least likely to be tender, such as the week after your menstrual period. We also recommend taking an over-the-counter pain medication, such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), about an hour before your mammogram to help ease any discomfort.

5. What should I expect?

Before your exam you will be asked to remove any jewelry and clothing from the waist up. We will provide you with a relaxing dressing room, a gown and a robe for your comfort. For the procedure itself, you will stand in front of an X-ray machine that is specially designed for mammography. One of our technologists will place one of your breasts on a platform that holds the X-ray film, then will raise or lower the platform to match your height. The technologist will help you position your head, arms and torso to allow an unobstructed view of your breast.

During the procedure your breast will be gradually pressed against the platform by a clear plastic plate. You will be asked to stand still and hold your breath while the images are taken. Pressure will be applied for a few seconds to spread out the breast tissue. You may find the pressure uncomfortable or even painful. If you have too much discomfort, inform your technologist. But your breast must be compressed to even out its thickness and permit the X-rays to penetrate the breast tissue. The pressure also holds your breast still to decrease blurring from movement and minimizes the dose of radiation needed.

In order to ease the discomfort associated with mammograms, we have joined an elite group of providers by offering MammoPad - a foam pad that serves as a cushion between you and the mammogram machine, making your mammogram a more comfortable experience.

Most mammograms take around thirty minutes to complete, and you can return to your normal activities following your exam.

6. Who interprets the results and how do I get them?

You images will be sent to The Breast Center located in Fayetteville, where they will be examined by a radiologist who has specialized in breast tissue.  Your results will be sent to you in the mail within two weeks of your exam. If there are any concerns, you will be contacted by The Breast Center for continued evaluation.

Washington Regional Springdale Center for Health
813 Founders Park Dr
Springdale, AR 72762
479.463.4888
8am - 5pm, Monday - Friday
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 Washington Regional
 3215 N. North Hills Blvd.
 Fayetteville, AR 72703
 (479) 463-1000

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