Who is Reading Your Mammogram?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 21, 2016

Radiology technician examens mammography test on location

When choosing a location for your mammogram, it is important to look for a center that performs a high volume of mammograms and has radiologists who are dedicated to breast imaging.

Approximately one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are publishing a three-part Breast Imaging Series throughout October. Today’s post, the second in our series, discusses the importance of specialized training in reading mammograms.

When choosing a location for your mammogram, it is important to look for a center that performs a high volume of mammograms. Preferably, the radiologists in the center should be dedicated to breast imaging. Breast imaging specialists devote their time exclusively to breast imaging, including mammography, breast MRI, and breast ultrasound.

The detection of very subtle changes in early breast cancer can be very challenging. Studies have shown that radiologists specializing in breast imaging outperform non-specialist radiologists in detecting breast cancer.  Furthermore, the more mammograms and other breast images that radiologists read, the better they become at identifying these subtle changes, with higher accuracy. Read More »

Breast Cancer Screening: Understanding the Guidelines

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 4, 2016

Digital 3D mammography (digital breast tomosynthesis), the latest technology used in mammography, takes multiple images of each breast from different angles. It has been shown to improve earlier detection of breast cancers and reduce the number of call backs for repeat imaging.

Contributor: Dr. Catherine Giess is Chief of the Division of Breast Imaging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Assistant Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School.

Approximately one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). This post is designed to outline breast cancer screening guidelines.

“Mammography is a very important screening tool for early breast cancer detection, but there are several different guidelines for when to start and how often to undergo mammography,” says Dr. Giess.  “This can be confusing for many women.”

The American College of Radiology recommends annual screening mammography beginning at age 40.  The ACS guidelines (outlined below) emphasize screening based on a woman’s individual risk of developing breast cancer and her personal preferences.

 

When should I start?

A woman’s first mammogram serves as a baseline to compare results of subsequent mammograms.

  • Women should begin discussing breast cancer screening with their health care providers at age 40. From 40-44 years of age, women have the option to begin annual screening if they choose to do so.  All women should begin yearly mammograms by age 45.
  • Women who are at higher risk for developing breast cancer, such as women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, should discuss their own personal risk factors with their health care providers, and may need to start screening earlier.

Read More »

Think Pink – Schedule Your Screening Mammogram

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 20, 2015

Stop by Brigham and Women’s/Mass General Health Center, next to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, before or after your mammogram, to view pink gear worn by members of the New England Patriots.

Stop by Brigham and Women’s/Mass General Health Center, next to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, before or after your mammogram to view pink gear worn by members of the New England Patriots.

If you’ve watched a professional football game over the last few weeks, you’ve probably noticed players sporting pink socks, wristbands, and other items of pink clothing.

Throughout October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, NFL players, coaches, and referees are wearing pink game apparel to remind women and their loved ones about the importance of regular breast cancer screening via mammography. Early detection of breast cancer improves a woman’s treatment outcomes.

Screening mammography is indicated for a woman who has no symptoms, such as a mass in the breast or nipple discharge. The American College of Radiology recommends that asymptomatic women begin screening mammography beginning at age 40, with yearly examinations recommended thereafter.

Digital 3-D mammography, a new advanced imaging technology for detecting breast cancer, offers a clearer, more complete three-dimensional view of a woman’s breast tissue compared with traditional mammography, which creates two-dimensional images. This technology enables radiologists to see tumors when they are very small and differentiate them  from abnormalities that look like tumors, but  are often overlapping breast tissue. When radiologists are able to identify malignant tumors at an early stage, it usually means that the cancer has been found before it has spread to other parts of the body. Read More »

Getting the Whole Picture: 3-D Mammography Improves Breast Cancer Detection

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 28, 2013

3-D mammography, compared to traditional imaging, offers a clearer view of breast tissue.

Why are radiologists so enthusiastic about 3-D mammography (digital breast tomosynthesis), a new imaging technology for diagnosing breast cancer?

The simple answer is that it could help save thousands of lives each year.

3-D mammography, compared to traditional two-dimensional imaging, offers a clearer view of the dense tissue within a woman’s breast. Specifically, it enables radiologists to see tumors when they are very small and differentiate them from abnormalities that look like tumors but are usually benign, such as micro-calcifications (calcium deposits) or cysts. When radiologists are able to identify malignant tumors at this early stage, it usually means that the cancer has been found before it has spread to other parts of the body.

Read More »

Breast Cancer: Turn Awareness into Action

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 17, 2012

To schedule a next-day mammogram appointment at Brigham and Women's/Mass General Health Care Center in Foxborough, call 1-866-378-9164 today.

In case you haven’t noticed the preponderance of pink – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

To help raise awareness, baseball players wield pink bats, football players wear pink, thousands of men and women participate in fundraising walks, and health care organizations provide valuable information, such as our Kickoff to Better Health cancer awareness campaign.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American women. The National Cancer Institute estimates that more than 200,000 women and more than 2,000 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. The promising news is that most patients diagnosed with the disease at an early stage survive and continue to live normal lives, and a mammogram is an important tool for early detection.

It’s important to learn all you can about breast cancer – for you and those you love.

Read More »