A Screening mammogram is an X-ray of the breast for women who have no symptoms. A valuable tool in early detection of breast cancer. The breast imaging physicians at the University of Vermont Medical Center recommend annual screening mammography beginning at age 40; as this regimen has the potential to save the most lives.
Mammogram: What You Can Expect
At your appointment, you may wish to wear a skirt, shorts, or pants, as you will only need to undress above the waist. Patients are asked to avoid perfumes, powders and lotions in the breast and underarm area.
When you arrive in our Breast Imaging department, you will be asked to complete the Vermont Mammograpy Registry(VMR) questionnaire. The Vermont Mammography (VMR) is part of the Vermont Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC). Together they collaborate with leading scientist from across the country to study breast cancer screening and diagnosis.
When you arrive for your mammogram you will be asked to complete the VMR questionnaire. Each time you come in for a mammogram the information you provide in your VMR health questionnaire provides us with important information needed for your care and for the VMR breast cancer statistics. By completing the VMR questionnaire, you join the millions of women who share this information for breast cancer research. The information received from the VMR is vital information and is required by the FDA for our annual FDA approval.
A mammography technologist, who is certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, will position you for the exam. Your breasts will be compressed, one at a time, between an x-ray plate and a plastic plate.
The whole procedure takes about 15 minutes; the breast compression lasts only a few seconds. You may feel discomfort when your breasts are compressed. If the exam is painful, tell your technologist so she can help make you as comfortable as possible. If you are still having periods, it's best not to schedule the mammogram just before or during your period when your breasts may be tender.
At the UVM Medical Center, our breast imaging specialists are specially trained in reading mammograms and bring a high level of expertise to interpreting your exam.
If there are any potential abnormalities on your mammogram, you will be notified as soon as possible and additional x-rays or other imaging tests may be recommended. If the mammogram is normal, you will be notified by mail, usually within a week to 30 days.
About Digital Mammography
The UVM Medical Center uses state-of-the-art digital equipment in breast imaging. Recent evidence has shown that digital mammograms are more accurate than non-digital mammograms in finding cancers in women younger than 50, in women who have not had menopause or are perimenopausal and in women with dense breast tissue.
With digital technology, mammograms are recorded and stored on a computer. Image size, brightness and contrast can be adjusted to see certain areas more clearly. Digital images can also be sent electronically from one site to another to consult with other providers if needed.
Accuracy of Digital Mammograms
The more mammograms a radiologist reads, the better they get at it. You're most likely to receive an accurate diagnosis from a radiologist who reads a lot of mammograms. At the UVM Medical Center, our Radiology team includes breast imaging experts who devote themselves primarily to reading mammograms. Together, they read over 25,000 mammograms every year.
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