For many women, they will take part in a 3D mammogram scan at multiple times throughout their life. The main purpose of this scan is to help identify issues before they become major problems, here is what you need to know before you have your first scan.
What The Scan Does
A 3D mammogram scan is done via a mammogram machine. These machines help to capture highly detailed images from multiple angles that will help create breast images, or even animated clips of what’s going on inside.
The machine works similarly to a computed tomography scan or a CT scan. But with this modern technique, the x-ray tube will move over your compressed breast to get different pictures.
Rather than capture any images on film, the pictures will instead be captured digitally. From there, they will be reconstructed on a computer. These advanced computers can then work through an algorithm to work through dense breast tissue and create more accurate images.
For radiologists, they can identify breast tissue abnormalities which could include tumors, calcifications, or masses. It will be used primarily to catch breast cancer earlier rather than later.
How Mammography Has Changed Over The Years
Whilst it is now much more common to go for a mammogram, with plenty of women going for one annually as part of their healthcare routine, it wasn’t always this way. It was only back in the 1950s and 1960s that researchers and scientists started to develop modern mammography machines.
However, it wouldn’t be until the 1970s that the American Cancer Society would start to look into mammography as a means of searching for breast cancer. This helped doctors and cancer specialists in identifying cancerous traits earlier rather than later. This helped with treatments and potential cures before they got worse and even incurable.
Nowadays, mammography has become more evolved, with machines now being able to reach more reliable results. Digital Breast Tomosynthesis, otherwise known as DBT, refers to more 3D mammographic technology. You can learn more about 3D mammogram technology online through medical experts and partners, which can help you understand the procedure ahead of time, and lower anxiety levels.
In the last few years, mammography has evolved further in the 3D field, with the piece of technology being able to produce more clear images. Digital mammography combined with computer-aided detection help to create 3D images that aid physicians, radiologists, and oncologists with scanning patients and reviewing the images.
For those who engage with regular scans, it not only helps the patient with getting more accurate results, it also helps them save time with quicker diagnoses and follow-ups. The big change that came to mammograms was moving from traditional film to digital images. These images are still processed through low-dose x-rays but can get a better look at the internal structures and tissues of the body and breast.
As you are probably aware, radiologists use 3D mammograms now to help look for abnormalities such as tissue density and calcifications that could be signs of breast cancer. It is also possible for a scan to reveal other abnormalities for issues aside from cancer.
3D Mammogram helps to capture multiple breast images from different angles, which is quite different from how it used to be with one angle static images. These new digital images can be used to help create animated images to better showcase what is going on for both doctors and patients.
The Benefit It Provides Women
This type of 3D breast screening is much more popular than older models as it allows for superior imaging results. That’s because DBT can help find smaller and potentially hidden breast cancers that traditional 2D or even another digital mammography could miss. For women who take part, it is less common that they will be required to come back for a recall and rescan, as the results are pretty clear cut and obvious.
This also means that false positives are also less likely, and the detection rate of potential multiple tumors has more of a chance of being noticed, as it can analyze multiple angles. Any potential abnormality no matter what its size, shape, or location of it is will be more accurately found.
Any medical practitioner who is working with a patient will be able to identify breast cancer in women even if they had no symptoms, to begin with. Dental breast tissue commonly shows up as a white area on a traditional mammogram, as a 3D scan will help provide better imaging which includes the opaque areas that can hide abnormal growth in some cases.
The Risks Associated With A Mammogram
Whilst it is only a very low-level amount, any x-ray can come with potential risks. During a 3D mammogram, you will be exposed to small amounts of ionizing radiation during the scan. This dosage is similar to more classic film mammography, with slightly more than a traditional 2D digital mammography.
This means you will be taking on a small amount of radiation, which is fine for most people, but you should speak to your doctors. It’s important to note that whilst the 3D method of screening is highly accurate, it is not guaranteed to be 100%. So, you should prepare for changes in the future and get checked regularly.
What You Should Do To Prepare For The Mammogram
Whether you opt for an annual review or once in every blue moon, you should know how to prepare for the scan. It mostly works through breast compression, where a technician will place your breast on the machine’s base compression plate. Then a second plate will compress and flatten the breast tissue to create a thickness.
If you have tender breasts, then you should consider going for a scan right after a menstrual cycle as that will make you more comfortable. Before you show up, try not to apply any deodorants or perfumes to yourself, as they can interfere with image clarity. Lastly, ensure you wear comfortable and loose clothing, as well as remove jewelry that could potentially interfere with the images too.
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What has been your experience with mammograms? Any advice to share with those of us who haven’t had one yet? Please comment below, I love hearing from you!