Mammography is the standard diagnostic procedure used to detect and diagnose issues such as breast cancer. It produces a mammogram, which is an X-ray image of the breast. It is a crucial part of the diagnostic process for all issues with the breast.
Diagnostic screening centers perform either analog or digital mammography tests. The former produces images of the breast printed on film, whereas the latter produces images of the breast magnified and beamed onto a screen. An issue with analog mammograms is that dense fibrocystic breast tissue and tumors appear white, making it difficult to make an accurate diagnosis. With digital mammography technology, the radiologist can manipulate contrast settings to better identify the masses in the breast.
The most important and obvious thing mammograms can pick up on is breast cancer tumors. However, mammograms can also pick up on other things, as well. Here are other things a digital mammography can detect:
- Calcifications Tiny calcium deposits within the breast tissue are called calcifications. They come up as white spots on a mammogram and are either macrocalcifications or microcalcifications. Macrocalcifications are larger calcium deposits that are common in women over the age of 50 and may be due to breast injuries, an aging breast, or inflammation. These are usually non-cancerous and do not require a biopsy. Microcalcifications are very small calcium deposits that have a speck-like appearance. These are more concerning because they may be caused by cancer. A radiologist will determine if calcifications are cancerous according to their pattern.
- Mass A mass is seen clearly on a mammogram. Masses could be many things: cysts, fibroadenomas, or a cancerous tumor. Cysts and fibroadenomas usually do not require a biopsy, but a tumor may be cancerous and requires a biopsy to get a final diagnosis. The tricky thing is that cysts and tumors can appear very similar on a mammogram. To make sure, the doctor will order an ultrasound to confirm if it’s a cyst or a tumor. The doctor may also conduct an aspiration to remove fluid from the cyst. If the mass is not a cyst, the doctor will order more imaging tests for a clearer picture of the shape and edges of the mass.
- Breast density A mammogram can help doctors make an assessment of your breast density. The density of your breasts pertains to how the fibrous and glandular tissues are distributed in your breasts. It is particularly challenging to detect cancerous changes in dense breast tissue.
Digital Mammography in Palm Beach, Florida
At Independent Imaging, we offer the most advanced diagnostic imaging technology, including digital mammography and 3D mammography. With over 30 years of experience, we have developed a reputation for providing fast and accurate diagnostic results.
For your convenience, we can serve you in any of our ACR-accredited diagnostic centers in Wellington, Lake Worth, Belle Glade and Royal Palm Beach. We also open early and stay open late. Moreover, we accept transportation arrangements and same-day appointments.
If you wish to schedule an imaging procedure with us, please call us at (561) 795-5558 or use our secure online form to make an appointment. Please inform us of any special requests you may have on the day of your scheduled appointment – we are happy to accommodate!