The Breast Center at the RWJBarnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center in Livingston, NJ, offers the latest in screening and diagnostic imaging tools to help detect and diagnose breast cancer.

After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in the U.S., and it is the second leading cause of death from cancer among American women. Many of these deaths could be avoided if every woman had an annual mammogram, which could help to discover and treat breast cancer at its earliest stages.

A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray used to screen for and detect breast cancer. Mammography is especially useful for detecting breast cancers that cannot be felt during regular breast examinations, and a mammogram may detect a breast cancer many years before it can be physically detected. Finding small breast cancers early greatly improves a woman’s chance for successful treatment.

A mammogram is a non-invasive procedure that compresses your breasts to spread out the breast tissue. X-rays are taken while your breasts are pressed between two plates. These x-rays are then reviewed by a radiologist. A mammogram helps to identify potential areas of concern, but it cannot be used to determine whether a lump, mass or other abnormality is cancer.

Types of Mammograms

There are two types of mammograms:

  • Screening mammogram. This type of mammogram is used to detect any breast changes in women who have no signs or symptoms of breast cancer. During a screening mammogram, two x-rays are taken of each breast, from top to bottom and side to side.
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  • Diagnostic mammogram. Diagnostic mammography is performed if abnormalities are found on a screening mammogram, or if there are noticeable breast concerns, such as a lump, pain, nipple discharge or a change in breast size or shape. A diagnostic mammogram generally requires more x-rays than a screening mammogram.
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3D Imaging Available
Digital breast tomosynthesis is an advanced breast imaging technique. Breast tomosynthesis uses x-rays and computer software to create a 3D image of the breast. Unlike a screening mammogram, which takes two x-rays of each breast, breast tomosynthesis takes multiple x-rays of each breast from many different angles.

Breast tomosynthesis requires less compression of the breast than a standard mammogram. While this method of breast imaging has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it is not yet considered the standard of care for breast cancer screening and is generally performed at the same time as a standard Mammogram.

Receiving regularly scheduled mammograms can help lead to early detection of breast cancer. How often you should receive one depends on multiple factors, including your age and your family’s cancer history. Talk to your doctor to get a personalized recommendation on the frequency that is appropriate for you.

Conveniently located at the RWJBarnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center in Livingston, NJ, The Breast Center's goal is to exceed the individual expectations of each patient, to decrease the stress commonly associated with breast testing, and to promote breast health and wellness.

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