Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women in the U.S. It is second only to skin cancer.
Fortunately, deaths caused by breast cancer have declined over the past 20 years. Many experts believe this is, in part, a result of improved screening and treatment techniques. Mammograms are the preferred diagnostic test to find breast cancer in its early stages. They do this by using X-rays to scan the breasts for cancer.
For many years, the only option was mammograms that record images of the breast on film. Now, digital mammograms are available. Digital mammograms store and analyze the information using a computer.
Advantages of Digital Mammography
Digital mammography is a technique for recording x-ray images in computer code instead of on x-ray film, as with conventional mammography.
The images are displayed on a computer monitor and can be enhanced — lightened or darkened. Images can also be manipulated; the radiologist can magnify or zoom in on an area. From the patient’s perspective, positioning for a digital mammogram is the same as for conventional mammography.
Digital mammography has some advantages over conventional mammography. The images can be stored and retrieved electronically, which makes long-distance consultations with other mammography facilities easier. Because the images can be adjusted by the radiologist, subtle differences between tissues may be noted.
The improved accuracy of digital mammography may reduce the number of follow-up procedures.
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