WHEN TO START AND HOW OFTEN TO UNDERGO SCREENING MAMMOGRAPHY?
The American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging recommend all women start yearly screening mammography at age 40. Starting annual mammography at age 40 can reduce your risk of dying of breast cancer by 40%. Even if you have no family history of breast cancer, it is important to undergo screening as three out of four women who develop breast cancer will have no family history or other risk factors for breast cancer. Black, Hispanic, and Asian women are at higher risk of developing aggressive forms of breast cancer in their 40s.
More information about the benefits of screening mammography can be found here.
DIGITAL BREAST TOMOSYNTHESIS
Digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), also known as 3D mammography, is a new imaging technology to screen women for breast cancer. Traditional mammography has been successfully used for decades, but it can be difficult to detect some subtle cancers, especially in areas of dense breast tissue. DBT helps to overcome this limitation. Compared to traditional mammography, DBT can detect cancer at a smaller size and results in fewer return visits for extra images (recalls).
Duke Breast Imaging is proud to offer 100% DBT for all breast cancer screening.
WHAT IF I AM HIGH-RISK?
Women who are high-risk for breast cancer should undergo yearly screening mammography, but may also benefit from additional supplemental breast cancer screening. Information about high-risk screening and the Duke Breast Risk Assessment Clinic can be found here.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MY SCREENING MAMMOGRAM?
Nine in ten women who have a screening mammogram will have a normal result. These women will be asked to return in one year for their annual mammogram. In some cases, the breast radiologist will request that the women return for additional images to evaluate an area in question. Typically, additional mammogram or ultrasound images can determine that the questionable area is definitively benign. If the radiologist ultimately decides a biopsy is necessary, this can be performed on site in a timely fashion by expertly trained breast radiologists. More information about breast biopsies can be found here.
WHAT IF I HAVE HAD PREVIOUS MAMMOGRAMS PERFORMED AT ANOTHER FACILITY?
When your breast radiologist reviews your mammogram, they will compare it to prior studies. Subtle changes in the breast over time can be one of the earliest signs of breast cancer. If you have had prior mammograms at another facility, we recommend bringing a copy of the images on a CD or contacting Duke Breast Imaging in advance of your appointment to arrange for your images to be transferred in advance. Please note that it may take up to two weeks to get images sent from another facility.