Digital Mammography and Tomosynthesis
Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australian women and the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths. Being aware of the risks is important, and having regular check-ups is paramount in screening for this disease.
Early detection through regular screening mammograms is the best defence against breast cancer.
What is a 3D mammogram?
3D Mammography is the latest and most advanced technology used in diagnosing breast cancer today. It is currently recognised as the industry standard modality in early detection when screening for breast cancer. Although very similar to the traditional 2D mammogram, the 3D view allows the radiologist to study the breast tissue in more detail, which allows or more accurate interpretation. Because of this, it also decreases the number of ‘false positives’ that would otherwise require biopsy and cause unnecessary anxiety and frustration for the patient.
What is involved in a mammogram?
The patient is usually given a gown to wear. The breasts are then positioned onto a curved plate, where a compressor is used to gradually push down on the breast. Compression of the breast is necessary to help provide a clearer picture, by evening out the breast tissue, which also allows abnormalities to be identified.
A set of top to bottom and side to side images are acquired after changing position. You may feel a small amount of pressure or discomfort, but it’s usually brief. Please advise the technician if the procedure is too painful.
The examination process should only take about 15 minutes.
Why would my doctor refer me for a mammogram?
A diagnostic mammogram is usually asked for to rule out unusual breast changes such as – lumps, pain, nipple thickening or discharge, or change in breast shape and size. A screening mammogram is usually referred when there is no symptom present, but you may have other reasons for the examination like age, family history etc.
Quite often a breast ultrasound is requested along with a mammogram to further clarify the mammography results
Are there risks involved in having a mammogram?
Mammograms require exposure to a small amount of radiation, but the benefits of mammograms far outweigh the risks. Women should always let their doctor and the radiographer know if there is a possibility of being pregnant.
Preparation for a mammogram
It is asked that patients do not wear any talcum powder, deodorant or creams under arms on the morning of their appointment. These substances produce artefacts on the images.
Hologic Selenia Dimensions Mammography System. Read more about it here: