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elderly woman getting a mammogram

This exam uses low-dose x-rays to make a picture of breast tissue. The picture is called a mammogram.

The NAPBC Board supports the recommendations of our member organizations, the American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology, and the Society for Breast Imaging. The American Cancer Society recommends annual screening mammography beginning at age 40 years and continuing as long as the woman is in reasonably good health and a candidate for treatment. The American College of Radiology and the Society for Breast Imaging jointly recommend that women begin annual mammography screening at age 40 years and continue until life expectancy is less than 5–7 years on the basis of age or comorbid conditions, or when abnormal results of screening would not be acted upon because of age or comorbid conditions.

Screening Mammography

Screening Mammography plays a central part in early detection of breast cancers, because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. The American College of Radiology (ACR) recommends screening mammography every year for women beginning at age 40. Research has shown that annual mammograms lead to early detection of breast cancers, when they are most curable and breast - conservation therapies are available.

Diagnostic Mammography

Diagnostic Mammography is used to evaluate a patient with an abnormal clinical finding such as a breast lump(s) that have been found by the woman or her doctor. Diagnostic Mammography may also be done after an abnormal screening mammography in order to evaluate the areas of concern on the screening exam.

Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (3-D Mammography)

Digital Breast Tomosynthesis, also known as 3-D mammography, takes many x-rays at different angels to create a three-dimensional image of the breast. Digital Breast Tomosynthesis has the potential to significantly increase the cancer detection rate of mammography screening in women with dense breasts.