When it comes to breast cancer screening, the journey doesn’t always end with the initial mammogram. For many individuals, especially those in the Toronto, Brampton, Whitby, and Niagara Falls regions, a follow-up procedure after a mammogram is a critical step in ensuring comprehensive care. At Valence Medical Imaging, understanding what these follow-up procedures entail and what you might expect is vital for your peace of mind and health.
Understanding Your Mammogram Results
Following a digital mammogram, radiologists at Valence Medical Imaging utilize the BI-RADS (Breast Imaging-Reporting and Data System) Classification to categorize your mammogram results. This system aids in interpreting and reporting findings in a standardized way.
- BI-RADS 0: Indicates that additional imaging evaluation is needed. This could mean more mammogram views or another type of test like a breast ultrasound.
- BI-RADS 1-3: Suggests everything is normal (1), benign findings (2), or probably benign findings (3), with a suggestion to follow up in 6 months for the latter.
- BI-RADS 4-5: Suggests suspicious (4) or highly suggestive of malignancy (5) findings, and a breast biopsy is recommended to determine if cancer is present.
If your radiologist has identified an area of concern or an abnormality, the next steps can include:
Unlike the initial screening mammogram, a diagnostic mammogram at Valence Medical Imaging provides a more detailed X-ray of the breast. It’s utilized when a potential abnormality has been identified or if you have dense breasts, which can make it harder to detect issues with standard breast imaging.
Breast ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to look at the inside of your breasts. It can help distinguish between solid masses, which are more likely to be cancer, and fluid-filled cysts, which are usually benign.
Breast Tomosynthesis (3D Mammography)
Breast tomosynthesis, also known as 3D mammography, creates a three-dimensional picture of the breast using X-rays. It is particularly beneficial for those with dense breast tissue, as it can provide clearer images and reduce the likelihood of false positives.
In certain cases, particularly for those with a high risk of breast cancer or very dense breasts, a breast MRI might be recommended. This type of imaging provides a more detailed picture and is used alongside mammograms to screen for breast cancer in high-risk patients.
If a suspicious area is identified in your breast, a biopsy is the definitive way to determine if it’s cancerous. There are several types of biopsies, including fine-needle aspiration, core needle biopsy, and surgical biopsy. The choice of biopsy depends on various factors, including the size and location of the abnormality.
Minimizing Radiation Exposure
At Valence Medical Imaging, minimizing your radiation exposure is a top priority. Digital mammograms use lower doses of radiation compared to traditional methods. Our team ensures that the lowest possible radiation dose is used while still obtaining high-quality images.
Preparing for Follow-Up Procedures
If you’re advised to undergo follow-up procedures, here’s how you can prepare:
- Gather Previous Records: If you’ve had mammograms or other breast imaging done elsewhere, bring these records to your appointment.
- Discuss Medications: Inform your doctor about any medications or supplements you’re taking.
- Describe Symptoms: If you’ve noticed any breast changes or symptoms, describe them in detail.
- Ask Questions: Write down any questions or concerns you have about the procedure.
After the follow-up procedure, your radiologist at Valence Medical Imaging will interpret the results and communicate them to you and your referring physician. The time frame for results can vary, but the team strives for timely reporting.
Support and Resources
Valence Medical Imaging provides resources and support throughout your follow-up care. Whether you require additional information about dense breasts, the implications of radiation exposure, or the specifics of the breast biopsy procedure, our compassionate staff is here to guide you.
At Valence Medical Imaging, our commitment to patient-centered care drives our approach to follow-up procedures post-mammography. Our advanced breast imaging techniques, from digital mammograms to breast ultrasounds and biopsies, ensure that you receive the highest standard of care. With facilities serving Toronto, Brampton, Whitby, and Niagara Falls, your path to clear and comprehensive breast health is close to home.
Remember, follow-up after a mammogram is a proactive step in taking charge of your breast health. It’s about ensuring that you have the best possible understanding of your breast health and, if necessary, beginning treatment as soon as possible.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Valence Medical Imaging. Your health is our utmost priority, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.