Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system for examination of the breasts. The images of the breasts can be viewed on film at a view box or as soft copy on a digital mammography work station. Most medical experts agree that successful treatment of breast cancer often is linked to early diagnosis. Mammography plays a central part in early detection of breast cancers because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Current guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Radiology (ACR) recommend screening mammography every year for women, beginning at age 40.
For more information on mammography, including more information on the procedure and how to prepare.
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Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy
Ultrasound-guided breast biopsy is a highly accurate way to evaluate suspicious masses within the breast that are visible on ultrasound, whether or not they can be felt on breast self-examination or clinical examination.
How it works
After placing an ultrasound probe over the site of the breast lump and using local anesthesia, the radiologist guides a biopsy needle directly into the mass. Tissue specimens are then taken using either an automatic spring-loaded or vacuum-assisted device (VAD). The procedure prevents the need to remove tissue surgically and also eliminates the radiation exposure that comes from using x-rays to locate a mass.
Preparing for the procedure
The ultrasound-guided breast biopsy is minimally invasive and there is a risk of bleeding whenever the skin is penetrated. If you are taken aspirin or a blood thinner your physician may advise you to stop three days before the procedure. You may want to have a relative or friend come with you to lend support and also drive you home after the procedure.
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Mammotome Breast Biopsy
Mammotome® breast biopsy System can help a doctor make a highly accurate diagnosis of a breast abnormality without the need for open surgery. The Mammotome® breast biopsy can also be used for a non-cancerous breast lump such as a fibroadenoma. A lump may be reduced in size at the same time it is biopsied, often to the point where the lump may no longer be seen under ultrasound or felt during self examination.
How It Works
With the Mammotome ® , a breast biopsy can be performed in an outpatient setting under local anesthesia. Your doctor can make a precise analysis with minimal pain, scarring and recovery time. The biopsy procedure takes less than an hour, and patients can return to their normal daily activities immediately after procedure.
Using imaging methods such as X-ray or ultrasound, a breast abnormality can be detected in its earliest stages. A physician can guide a Mammotome® probe into a suspicious area of the breast to gently collect the abnormal tissue through one small, ¼-inch incision.
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The National Cancer Institute (NCI) adds that women who have had breast cancer and those who are at increased risk due to a genetic history of breast cancer should seek expert medical advice about whether they should begin screening before age 40 and about the frequency of screening.