Comprehensive Screening and Diagnostic Mammograms
Mammography is specialized medical imaging that uses a low-dose digital x-ray system to look inside your breasts. It allows doctors and radiologists to identify any changes or abnormalities in your breast tissue that could point to breast cancer, even if you have no signs or symptoms of the disease. It also allows doctors to analyze a lump or other possible signs of breast cancer.
The Premier Family Medicine physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC) recommend annual mammograms for all women beginning at age 40, no matter their medical history. Mammograms are also recommended for women aged 30 or older who have a known genetic syndrome and are at a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
We refer female patients to our skilled, in-house PVHMC radiology department for their mammogram needs. Our radiologists provide high-tech mammography imaging to ensure a fast, accurate diagnosis. Once completed, we review the scans and determine whether additional steps are needed.
What to Expect During a Mammogram
During a mammogram, you stand in front of an x-ray machine. The person who takes the x-rays will position your body and place one breast between two plastic plates. Next, the plates press your breast to make it flat. This process is repeated for the other breast. While uncomfortable, this process helps get a clear picture of the inside of your breast so your doctor can properly analyze it.
Types of Mammograms
There are two primary types of mammograms: screening and diagnostic. While similar, there are a few important differences:
- Screening mammogram
Screening mammography is a mammogram that checks you when you have no symptoms and typically takes 10-15 minutes.
- Diagnostic mammogram
Diagnostic mammography is used for women with symptoms of breast cancer like pain, nipple thickening, discharge, a lump, or a change in breast size or shape. They’re also used to evaluate abnormalities detected in a screening mammogram. Diagnostic mammograms typically take longer than a screening mammogram because the radiologist may need to zoom in on areas of interest and take more x-ray images.
If You Have an Abnormal Screening Mammogram
The Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center radiology department provides high-tech mammography imaging to ensure a fast, accurate diagnosis. Our experts follow the latest protocols to minimize radiation exposure while still maintaining image quality for an accurate diagnosis.
If a lump or another abnormality is found during your screening mammogram, you may need one or more of these follow-up tests:
- Breast ultrasound
A non-invasive test that uses sound waves to make images of the breast.
- Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
A minimally invasive test that uses magnetic fields to create an image of the breast.
- Fine-needle aspiration
A fine-needle aspiration, or biopsy, uses a thin, hollow needle to collect a sample of cells inside the breast.
If precancerous or cancerous cells are confirmed, you will be referred to the appropriate PVHMC Cancer Center, depending on the type of cancer.
Early detection and diagnosis are crucial for successfully treating breast cancer. Several of our conveniently located centers provide highly effective digital mammography to diagnose breast abnormalities.
For more information about our comprehensive mammography services or to find a location near you, call Pomona Valley Health Centers at 909-378-9261. We provide high-quality, compassionate women’s health services in Spanish, Arabic, Vietnamese, Cantonese, and more at our conveniently located facilities.