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Thursday, September 25, 2008
Breast Health Awareness
By ELIH @ 7:37 PM :: 3023 Views :: Women's Health

October is Breast Health Awareness Month, and Eastern Long Island Hospital joins the effort to reinforce the importance of regular mammogram screening.

According to the National Cancer Institute, women 40 and over should have mammograms every 1 to 2 years. If you have risk factors for breast cancer, such as a family history of the disease, your doctor may recommend more frequent mammograms beginning before age 40.

There is good reason for scheduling a regular mammogram screening. Yearly mammograms and clinical breast exams remain the most effective method for detecting breast cancer in its earliest and most treatable stage.

Digital mammography, now at ELIH, uses revolutionary imaging technology to provide extremely sharp images for review by a radiologist. During the mammogram, instead of making a film of the x-ray of the breast, the x-ray energy is captured and converted into a digital image immediately available for diagnosis.

This image can be viewed on a high-resolution monitor that enhances visualization of the structure within the breast tissue. The radiologist can manipulate the image in ways not possible before the development of digital technology— adjusting brightness and contrast and zooming in on specific areas to a higher level of detail.

Digital mammography is superior in detecting small calcifications and masses which is what it's all about in mammography. Digital mammography also means less time spent in the breast center. With film mammography, the technician would take four routine views of the breast. With the digital process, there's less need for repeat views due to over- or under-exposure of images.

In addition, the digital equipment chosen by ELIH has screens with more surface area than that of the earlier system, so patients with larger breasts may not need the additional views previously required to screen all breast tissue. ELIH has also added a single-use, adhesive-backed foam recyclable breast cushion to make the exam experience as comfortable as possible.

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