Purpose:

A screening mammogram is an x-ray examination of the asymptomatic breast.  This is a breast with no symptoms or concerns.

An annual screening mammogram starting at age 40, allows the Radiologist to look for the subtle changes in breast tissue patterns caused by abnormalities in the breast.

Mammography is based on the comparison of tissue patterns from year to year.

Early detection is the best defense for women against breast cancer.

Who will perform the examination?

A Radiologic Technologic licensed by the State of Connecticutand with a special certification in Mammography will perform your examination under the supervision of a Board Certified Radiologist.  SharonHospitalhas been certified as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by theAmericanCollege of Radiology.

Preparation

Inform the staff if you are pregnant BEFORE the examination as other imaging options may better for you.

No powder or deodorant should be worn on the day of the exam.

Because mammography is based on comparison, it is VITAL for the Radiologist to have your previous mammograms at the time of exam.  If it is your first mammogram atSharonHospital, please bring either your original mammography films (or disk) OR all the information about the facility at which it was done.  We will have you sign a release form and attempt to get them for you.  If your mammograms have been done atSharonHospital, they will be available for the Radiologist in our PACS system.

History Sheet

Before your mammogram, your technologist will discuss the history sheet you

filled out after checking in at the Radiology desk.  The information on this sheet is VERY important in assuring that your exam and the information given to the Radiologist is correct.

If you have had breast surgery, please inform the technologist during this interview.

Breast augmentation with implants is especially important and needs to be discussed with your technologist before the exam.

If you have a family history of breast cancer, be sure to note it on your history sheet.

If you have had breast cancer with related surgery, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy, please note it on your history sheet and discuss any area of tenderness with your technologist.

 How long will the exam take?

With the newest technology, DIGITAL MAMMOGRAPHY, the actual mammogram is usually completed in just a few minutes.

Examination

A basic screening mammogram consists of 2 images of each breast, for a total of 4 images.

The breast is positioned on the mammography unit and compression is applied.

Compression of the breast tissue is necessary to separate breast tissues for a clearer image and avoid blurriness caused by motion and to keep the radiation exposure as low as possible.   The amount of compression is dependent on the tolerance of the patient.  Please tell the technologist if the amount of compression is intolerable.  She will work with you to obtain the best possible image with the least amount of discomfort.

Post Procedure

After the test, you may resume all normal activities.

Results

A Radiologist, a physician who specializes in interpreting diagnostic images, will analyze your test and send a signed report to your doctor. Reports are generally available the same day the mammogram is performed.

Additionally, if your mammogram is determined to be stable, with no significant changes, a letter will be mailed to you to inform you of this result.  You usually receive it within 3-5 days of the exam.

If a change is suspected by the Radiologist, a Technologist will call you within a few days and arrange an appointment for you to return for some “additional images’.

THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE BREAST CANCER.  There are many reasons, other than breast cancer, for the appearance of change including normal changes in benign tissue and compression of the breast tissue causing the overlap of normal tissues.

However, any change seen by the Radiologist needs to be explored so that breast cancers are detected as early as possible.

The Radiologist will direct this procedure, requesting images which will demonstrate the area of concern most clearly.

The results of these additional images will be discussed with you before you leave.  Any additional tests required will also be discussed with you.  These results will also be discussed with your physician. A final report will be sent to your physician and a letter will be sent to you.

 

Appointment Date:  _______________________________

Appointment Time: _______________________________