For most women, a mammogram is the best way to find breast cancer as early as possible. That’s because a mammogram uses low-dose x-rays to create an image of your breast tissue and detect abnormalities that are too small to be felt. Because we are committed to providing early detection of breast cancer, Louisiana Women’s Healthcare offers 3-D mammogram technology to help us achieve the most accurate screenings and diagnoses for our patients.
Three-dimensional mammography, also known as a digital breast tomosynthesis, is an FDA-approved advancement in breast imaging that helps detect small cancers that two-dimensional screening might not catch. 3-D mammograms take many pictures of each breast from different angles, showing each layer of breast tissue. A computer puts the images together to create 3-D views of the breasts. Radiologists can also look at the individual layers to see tiny details that could signal cancer.
The experience of having a 3-D mammogram will feel the same as with a 2-D mammogram (also called conventional digital mammography), but 3-D imaging may take a few seconds longer. During a 3-D mammogram, a specialized x-ray arm takes several images of the breast from different angles. During a 2-D mammogram, two pictures are typically taken of each breast—one from the side and one from above.
While traditional 2-D mammography has been beneficial in the fight against breast cancer, it may not always detect cancer in women with dense breast tissue. This is because the 2-D image does not always distinguish between healthy and cancerous tissue. With the innovation of 3-D mammography, doctors are able to view a much more accurate image, allowing for better cancer detection in women with dense breasts.
When you find breast cancer early, it’s more easily treated. That’s why it’s important to follow the experts’ recommendations for screening mammograms. We, along with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, recommend annual mammograms beginning at age 40 (or earlier for high-risk patients).
If you have certain underlying medical conditions or you have a family history and a higher risk for breast cancer, you might need more frequent screenings. Your physician at Louisiana Women’s Healthcare can advise you on the appropriate recommended screenings for you based on your health, medical history and age.
Getting your first mammogram can be stressful. After all, it’s your first one, so you don’t know exactly what to expect.
At Louisiana Women’s Healthcare, our Mammography Department is located on the first floor. When you arrive for your appointment, you will undress from the waist up and will be given a gown to wear. During the mammogram, you and a trained technician will be the only ones in the exam room. Your breasts will be placed on a special platform and gradually compressed between two imaging plates. Compression is necessary in order to get the best images.The entire exam will only take about 10 minutes.
Don’t put off your mammogram. Getting regular mammograms is an important step to helping you live a long and healthy life. Better equipment and enhanced accuracy could mean an earlier diagnosis and a greater variety of treatment options for many women. To schedule a screening mammogram at Louisiana Women’s Healthcare request an appointment online, through MyOchsner, or by phone (225) 201-2010.