The mammogram has become a useful tool for many breast disease specialists, as it is a quick, non-invasive test that can be conducted on an annual basis to promote prevention of breast disease.

The radiology department within the Western New York Breast Health facility offers Breast Tomosynthesis with Computer Aided Detection (CAD). Tomosynthesis also called three-dimensional (3-D) mammography uses a low-dose x-ray system and computer reconstructions to create three-dimensional images of the breasts. Computer Aided Detection aids the radiologists in detecting potential abnormalities on the mammogram.

Conventional digital mammography (2-D) produces one image of overlapping tissue. Breast Tomosynthesis (3-D) takes multiple images of the entire breast allowing the Radiologist to see through layers of tissue and examine areas from all angles.

Despite the many benefits of mammography it is unable to discern the nature of any lump that is detected through the test. In order to do this, an ultrasound and potential biopsy must be conducted to collect a sample of the lump tissue for further analysis. Additionally, some lumps found through self-examination by the patient may not be visible with mammography, in which case a biopsy should still be conducted. Finally, in younger women and those that are nursing or pregnant, mammography has been shown to be less effective due to denser breast tissue that may conceal lumps. For these women, more breast specialists have begun to prescribe an MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, to obtain a complete image of the patient’s breasts. Although there are some challenges with current mammography techniques, it still remains the easiest way to maintain breast health through yearly examination.