Breast cancer in Australia is the most common cancer diagnosed in women and the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths. Being aware of the risks is important, and having regular checkups is paramount in screening for this disease.
Early detection is key through regular mammograms and for the best defence in the fight against breast cancer.
3D Mammography is the latest and most advanced technology used in diagnosing breast cancer today. It is currently recognised as the best modality in early detection when screening for breast cancer. Although very similar to the traditional 2D mammogram, the 3D view allows the radiologist to study the breast tissue in more detail, which provides an increased accuracy in results. Because of this it also decreases the number of biopsies performed due to improved scanning, and ruling out of ‘false positive’ finding of cancer, resulting in unnecessary anxiety by being called back for additional testing.
The patient will usually be given a gown to wear.
Breasts will be positioned onto a flat plate, where a compressor will be used to gradually push down the breast. Compression of the breast is necessary to help provide a clearer picture, by evening out the breast tissue, which also allows abnormalities to be identified.
Changing positions between images for top to bottom and side views will be required, as well as holding very still, this is important for the quality and accuracy of the images. You may feel a small amount of pressure or discomfort, but it’s usually brief. Please advise the technician if the procedure is too painful.
The examination process should take about 15 minutes.
A diagnostic mammogram is usually asked for to rule out unusual breast changes such as – lumps, pain, nipple thickening or discharge, or change in breast shape and size. A screening mammogram is usually referred when there is no symptoms present, but you may have other reasons for the examination like age, family history etc.
Quite often a breast ultrasound is requested along with a mammogram to further clarify the mammography results.
Our radiologists may also request a ultrasound guided breast biopsy.
Mammograms require exposure to a small amount of radiation, but the benefits of mammograms far outweigh the risks.
Women should always let their doctor and the radiographer know if there is a possibility of being pregnant.
It is asked that patients do not wear any talcum powder, deodorant or creams under arms on the morning of your appointment.