A screening mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast to help detect breast cancer. The mammogram is called a “screening” mammogram when the patient has no symptoms.
We offer 2D and 3D (digital breast tomosynthesis) screening mammography. 3D mammography has been shown to decrease call back rates and improve sensitivity of detecting invasive cancers.
When the patient presents with a complaint or symptom, the mammogram is a diagnostic mammogram. Diagnostic mammograms are also performed when the patient returns for a possible abnormality seen on a screening mammogram or for a follow up from a prior mammogram.
You may have heard from your health care provider that you may have dense breasts. Dense breast tissue is common but may mask an underlying breast cancer on mammography. 3D digital breast tomosynthesis improves evaluation of dense breast tissue and should be considered instead of 2D digital mammography in women with dense breasts. Click here to find out more about 3D Mammography.
If you have no other symptoms and are considering a second exam to further evaluate your dense breast tissue, we recommend supplemental screening ultrasound which detects approximately 4 additional cancers per 1000 women examined. If you are already at high risk for the development of breast cancer and have dense breast tissue, then supplemental contrast enhanced breast MRI should be considered. For more information about dense breast: https://densebreast-info.org/
You should talk to your doctor about your risk of breast cancer and how often to get screened. The type and frequency of screening depends on your personal history, family history, and other risk factors. UCLA Breast Imaging recommends annual screening mammography in order to save the most lives.
Your mammogram will be interpreted by a radiologist specializing in breast imaging. These results will be sent to your doctor and a follow up letter to you.
If you are called back for additional pictures, the reason is to evaluate for a possible abnormality. You will asked to schedule an appointment for a diagnostic mammogram and/or diagnostic ultrasound. An ultrasound may or may not be performed depending on the initial abnormality.
Breast Imaging at UCLA provides a full range of high quality and innovative breast imaging studies, treatments and procedures to the greater Los Angeles area. We are currently located in Westwood, Santa Monica, Thousand Oaks, Santa Clarita, Toluca Lake, Manhattan Beach, and Palos Verdes. Click here to learn more about all of our locations.
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