Regular mammograms are an essential part of your overall health and wellness. At Valley, the latest technology and methods are used to identify breast cancer at its earliest stages.
Women with no risk factors should:
- Have a first, or baseline, mammogram between ages 35 and 40
- Have a clinical breast exam (performed by a physician) every three years between ages 20 to 39
- After age 40, have yearly clinical breast exams and mammograms (as long as you are in good health)
- Consider performing monthly breast self-examinations
Women with risk factors should:
- Work with your doctor to determine your risk and breast care schedule; mammogram and clinical breast exam follow-up recommendations may change for women with risk factors.
Mammography at Valley
You will need to have a written prescription from your doctor for a mammogram.
For the day of your mammogram, please keep in mind the following:
- Dress in a comfortable two-piece outfit: You will be asked to undress from the waist up.
- You will be asked to remove any jewelry that might get in the way.
- Do not use deodorant, talcum powder, ointment, cream or lotion on your breasts or underarms.
A screening mammogram is used to check whether you have any suspicious masses that might be breast cancer.
- If our clinicians find something suspicious during your screening mammogram, you will be sent for a diagnostic mammogram.
- We offer same-day appointments for diagnostic mammograms because we recognize that you may be anxious if a breast irregularity is discovered. We also offer same-day biopsies, when possible. Our goal is to accommodate your schedule whenever we can.
Benefits of 3D Mammography
Tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography: Valley Hospital is the first hospital in northern New Jersey to offer 3D breast tomosynthesis (also known as 3D mammography) for breast cancer detection. All mammograms at Valley are conducted with 3D technology.
Benefits of this technology include the following:
- Digitally combines multiple X-rays to create a 3D image of the breast; this reduces distortion created by tissue overlap or density and gives physicians a clearer look through the overlapping structures of breast tissue
- Increases the ability to detect and diagnose small tumors through this more comprehensive view
- Helps radiologists rule out abnormalities that may have looked suspicious in a 2D mammogram
- Reduces the need to call women back for additional imaging or biopsies
- Targets the size, shape, and precise location of a lump or tumor; the image is not flattened like a conventional mammogram
Why Choose Valley for Mammography?
- Breast imaging center of excellence: The Valley Breast Center is designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology (ACR). The center’s team of experts includes board-certified radiologists and female mammography technologists who have undergone special training and have advanced certification in mammography.
- Digital mammograms: Breast imaging at Valley is 100 percent digital. Digital mammography conducted with 3D technology (see above) allows radiologists to magnify breast images and increase or decrease contrasting shades. These image enhancements improve our radiologists’ ability to diagnose suspicious masses; and, because of the enhanced images, radiologists often need fewer pictures, which limits radiation exposure.
- Additional layer of detection: To supplement our digital mammography, Valley incorporates digital computer-aided detection (CAD). Digital CAD highlights characteristics commonly associated with breast cancer. When activated, it flags abnormalities to help a radiologist detect early breast cancer.
- Convenience when you need it most: We recognize that you may be anxious if a breast irregularity is discovered during a screening mammogram. That’s why we offer same-day appointments for diagnostic mammograms and same-day biopsies, whenever possible. Our goal is to accommodate your schedule whenever we can.
- Breast patient navigators: At Valley, breast patient navigators help guide you through each step in the mammography experience. If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, our patient navigators will transition your care to our nurse navigator. Our nurse navigator collaborates with the rest of the Valley breast cancer team to guide you through treatment options.
- Digitizing previous mammograms: To quicken the retrieval of past mammograms and to enhance the ability to view past images, Valley is now digitizing previous mammograms. This will enable quicker and more direct comparisons when needed.