Mammography is an X-ray of the breast that is considered to be the gold standard for breast cancer screening. It is designed to detect early stage breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms and to detect and diagnose breast disease in women experiencing symptoms such as a lump, pain or nipple discharge. Unlike film-based mammography, the images produced by digital mammography are available instantly, without the need to ‘re-take’ images due to over- or under-exposure.
3D mammography, or tomosynthesis, is a recent and significant innovation in breast imaging—approved by the FDA in 2011. Numerous European and American clinical studies have demonstrated that adding tomosynthesis to a screening mammogram increases the cancer detection rate by about 40% and significantly lowers recall rates. It has also been shown to find more invasive cancers earlier than traditional mammography, which is why so many hospitals and imaging centers are adopting this technology.
There is additional radiation with tomosynthesis.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the breast is an excellent test for evaluating mammogram abnormalities and identifying early breast cancer, especially in high-risk women. This painless, radiation-free procedure uses magnets and a computer to create detailed images of the breast which, just like a digital mammogram, can be studied from different angles.
There is no radiation risk with Breast MRI.
A Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA) test is a bone density study using small amounts of radiation to determine whether or not you have osteoporosis or low bone mass, conditions that commonly affect women after menopause and, in some cases, men. It is a fast, safe and painless test that measures bone strength and can predict your risk for bone fracture. DXA may also be used as a follow-up procedure to monitor response to specific medications.