XRA Medical Imaging is accredited by the American College of Radiology to perform Mammography services in Rhode Island. Find information regarding our mammography service below, and our office locations where a mammogram can be performed.
A Mammogram is an image of the breast obtained by using a low dose x-ray.
Powder, deodorant, lotion, and perfume should not be worn under the arms or in the breast area.
Mammography can identify breast cancer in its early stages. It can also detect benign (non-cancer) processes that may not be detected with a breast exam alone.
A radiographer, certified in mammography by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, performs the exam. The patient is positioned with the breast placed between an imaging plate and compression paddle, which is used to spread out the breast tissue. This allows the lowest amount of radiation necessary to penetrate the breast. A minimum of two images per breast are obtained in different projections.
The images are electronically sent to a board-certified radiologist for evaluation on a high-resolution monitor. Each mammogram is also evaluated with CAD (computer-aided detection). CAD is computer software that highlights areas of possible abnormalities, such as density or calcification, as an aid to the radiologist.
Screening mammography is performed on women age 40 and older who are not having any breast symptoms. The goal of screening mammography is to detect abnormalities when they may be too small to be felt during a breast self-exam. Early detection of breast cancer is a woman's best protection in improving her chances of successful treatment.
Diagnostic mammography is performed on patients who present with a symptom, such as pain or a lump. They are also done as further evaluation to findings on a screening mammogram. The images are obtained in the same manner as a screening mammogram, but utilizing different positioning and equipment modification. It is not uncommon for patients to need a breast ultrasound following a diagnostic mammogram. All diagnostic mammograms are read by a radiologist while the patient waits, and the results are relayed to the patient before leaving.
Mammography plays a crucial role in early detection of breast cancers, which are most easily treated in their earliest stages. If an abnormality is discovered, mammograms are a tremendous tool in the evaluation process. Most abnormalities that are found in a mammogram are not, in fact, breast cancer, but it is important to have a mammogram annually, in accordance with nationally-accepted guidelines regarding breast cancer screening.
Effective October 1, 2014, the State of Rhode Island has implemented the Dense Breast Notification and Education Act. This requires that all facilities that perform mammography notify their patients of their breast density. Breasts are comprised of fatty and glandular tissue. If a patient is found to have more glandular than fatty tissue, the breast tissue may be considered dense. Dense breast tissue makes it more difficult to detect breast cancer by mammography because it can hide small abnormalities, which can be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
If you are found to have dense breasts, you may benefit from additional screening tests. Screening breast ultrasound or breast MRI may be utilized to further evaluate this type of breast tissue. All patients should discuss further testing with their health care provider. Coverage by insurance varies, so patients should always check with their insurance carrier as well.