An annual mammogram — that anxiety-inducing preventive care requisite nearly every woman of a certain age dreads — isn’t the pain it once was. Really. Advanced technology and same-day results have made mammograms more convenient and less worrisome than ever before.
Today’s mammogram requires less waiting than mammograms of the past. At Beaufort Memorial Women’s Imaging Center, women can leave their appointment with the results in hand. If their screening mammogram reveals an abnormality, additional testing can be performed on the spot. No calls, no weeks-long wait. For those requiring a biopsy, a surgeon is available four days a week. That means a diagnosis is now available in days rather than weeks.
In addition to offering same-day results, the Beaufort Memorial Women’s Imaging Center now offers tomosynthesis, an optional, three-dimensional X-ray. The X-ray is performed at the same time as a normal screening mammogram using an attached digital scanner. As the mammogram images are taken, the tomosynthesis scanner makes a quick arc over the breast taking a series of images that a computer forms into a three-dimensional picture.
According to board-certified radiologist and Director of Radiology Dr. Phillip Blalock, modern mammogram technology has advanced so far there’s no reason to put off the vital diagnostic. “For some women, it may eliminate the barrier that keeps them from coming in for their annual screening,” he says.
With the addition of tomosynthesis, the radiologist is able to examine the breast tissue one layer at a time. Fine details are more clearly visible. Skin folds that look suspicious on traditional mammography can easily be seen on the 3-D image, preventing further diagnostic procedures and the anxiety they can create.
Dr. Blalock recommends tomosynthesis for one important reason: it can help detect cancers earlier. “It’s such a useful tool,” he says. “It affords us a better look at the breast tissue, helping us find smaller cancers at earlier stages when they’re most treatable.”
To make an appointment for a mammogram at the Women’s Imaging Center or Beaufort Memorial Bluffton Medical Services, call 843-522-5015.