Mammography is one of the most effective breast imaging tools available to detect breast cancer. Often, breast cancers can be seen on a mammogram before any symptoms occur. The American Cancer Society recommends women start annual mammography at age 40. If a woman has a strong family history of breast cancer (i.e., a first-degree relative, such as a sister or mother), then it is recommended that mammographic screening begin 10 years prior to the age at which the cancer of the relative was diagnosed.
Sonnenalp was an early adopter of 3D mammography with breast density software in Colorado. 3D mammograms make it possible for a radiologist to gain a better understanding of breast tissue during screening and the confidence to reduce the need for follow-up imaging.
Sonnenalp has been performing digital mammography since opening in 2002. In 2010, the American College of Radiology (ACR) awarded a three-year term of accreditation as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence. The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety and is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice.
To schedule an appointment for a mammogram, please call (970) 569-7690.
- WHAT IS 3D MAMMOGRAPHY?
- EARLY DETECTION IS KEY
There are a two types of mammograms: screening and diagnostic. In addition, Sonnenalp Breast Center offers SonoCiné Breast Ultrasound for women with dense breasts.
Sonnenalp Breast Center offers SonoCiné breast ultrasounds for women with dense breasts. SonoCiné is an automated breast ultrasound system that has been cleared by the FDA as an adjunctive examination to mammography. It is a complementary examination and not a replacement for mammography. Peer-reviewed, published clinical trials demonstrated that SonoCiné, when used as an adjunct to mammography, found more and smaller cancers than were found by mammography alone.
Screening mammography is a wellness test that is performed when there are no breast symptoms. During a screening mammogram, a mammography technologist usually takes two pictures of each breast. In patients with implants, four routine images are taken of each breast. Occasionally, more images are taken to visualize all the breast tissue. Patients can expect the appointment to be 20-30 minutes.
Once a screening mammogram has been interpreted by the breast radiologist, the patient may be called back for a diagnostic mammogram or breast ultrasound. Typically, 10 percent of screening mammograms require additional breast imaging.
Diagnostic mammography is performed when there is an abnormality on a screening mammogram or there are breast symptoms. Mammogram images taken at the time of a diagnostic study are different from a screening mammogram, and are variable depending on symptoms and/or findings on the screening study. A breast radiologist is on-site to read a diagnostic exam and will review the results with the patient, if needed. Diagnostic mammography can lead to further breast imaging, which could include breast ultrasound, breast MRI or breast biopsy. Patients can expect to be at the Breast Center for 1 to 1½ hours for diagnostic mammography and/or breast ultrasound.
Diagnostic mammography is performed in the following situations:
- When the breast radiologist determines there is a questionable abnormality on screening examination
- When there is a history of breast cancer
- When there is a lump or thickening
- When the patient experiences swelling or changes in skin appearance
- For women with nipple inversion
- When the patient experiences new or bloody nipple discharge
- When a patient experiences breast pain (only 15 percent of women with breast pain will require treatment)
- For any other breast sign or symptom