Digital Mammography Center of Paris Regional Medical Center
The difference between traditional analog and new digital mammograms is similar to the difference between 35mm film and digital photos. Just like a 35mm camera, analog equipment uses cumbersome film for each image. However, digital mammography uses a computerized image that can be easily stored, interpreted, and sent to another location for review if necessary.
The principles of digital mammography are the same as those of analog mammography since a digital mammogram is simply an x-ray of the breast tissue. The patient’s experience during the mammogram procedure is the same regardless of the way the image is acquired.
The recent publication of a five-year study funded by the National Cancer Institute brought digital mammography to the forefront for women and physicians concerned about breast cancer. The study showed that digital mammography may be more accurate than traditional analog mammography for women who are pre-menopausal, under the age of 50 or who have dense breast tissue. Digital mammography may detect between 15-28 percent more cancers in women possessing any of the above characteristics.
Women over the age of 50 should be assured that a traditional mammogram is equal to a digital mammogram. However, women who fall into one of the three categories mentioned (under 50, pre-menopausal and those with dense breast tissue) might want to go to facilities that have digital mammography.
As with any type of cancer, early detection is the key to catching tumors in time to effectively treat and cure them.
The National Cancer Society guidelines recommend annual mammograms beginning at age 40 for all women. However, breast cancer detection starts at a much earlier age. Women should start monthly breast self-exams by the age of 20. A clinical breast exam should be preformed by your physician at least every three years for women in their 20s and 30s. Women over the age of 40 should receive the clinical breast exam once a year in addition to the screening mammogram.
For more information or to make an appointment for a digital mammogram at the Digital Mammography Center of Paris Regional Medical Center, call 903-737-3900.