The Women’s Imaging Scans You Need

May 11, 2022 – 3 min read

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The Women’s Imaging Scans You Need

It’s a fact: One in eight women in the U.S. will get breast cancer during her lifetime. Preventive screenings like mammograms can help detect cancer early while it is more easily treatable, but mammograms aren’t the only type of women’s imaging that you need to know about.

How mammograms work

Mammography is a low-dose X-ray that produces images of the inside of your breasts. A screening mammogram is performed to look at your breasts when you have no symptoms of breast cancer, while a diagnostic mammogram is recommended if you or your doctor wants to investigate an area of concern. Most mammograms employ digital technology for better imaging.

A 3D mammogram uses multiple images to provide an even clearer picture of your breasts. This is especially useful for women who have dense breasts. The American Cancer Society recommends women between the ages of 45-54 have an annual screening mammogram.

Women with a high risk of breast cancer who are between the ages of 40-44 have the option to start screening based on their provider’s recommendation. Women with a family history of breast cancer or certain other risk factors may want to start screening earlier. They may also be advised to seek out advanced breast imaging, including breast MRI, accelerated breast MRI and breast ultrasound.

Accelerated breast MRI

Some women at high risk for breast cancer may need regular breast MRI scans in addition to mammograms. American Health Imaging offers accelerated breast MRI as a convenient, time-saving option for women who require advanced imaging. An accelerated breast MRI, like a standard breast MRI, uses magnetic resonance imaging to create a thorough picture of your breasts. It provides a clearer picture of your breasts than a simple mammogram.

As the name suggests, an accelerated breast MRI is fast — scans last less than 20 minutes for most patients. You do not need a physician’s referral for an accelerated breast MRI.
Breast MRI is also used after a cancer diagnosis for multiple reasons. A breast MRI can help determine exactly where the cancer has spread and if there are other tumors that did not show up on the mammogram.

If you are going through chemotherapy, a breast MRI can show how much your tumor has shrunk. This type of breast imaging can also help determine if a lumpectomy scar has changes that could signal a recurrence of cancer.

Why you might need a breast ultrasound

A breast ultrasound uses sound waves to produce an image of the inside of the breast. An ultrasound may detect things a mammogram cannot, especially in women who have dense breasts. They may also be used when a woman is pregnant (and cannot have a mammogram due to the radiation) or for women who cannot have an MRI.

A breast ultrasound can also determine if a lump is a solid mass that could be a tumor or is a fluid-filled cyst.

Trust AHI for your women’s imaging

The women’s imaging centers at American Health Imaging offer advanced technology to help your doctor detect and diagnose breast cancer. Our imaging specialists provide affordable services and offer appointments during evening and weekend hours, so you don’t need to take off work to get the health care you deserve.

If you or a loved one needs breast screenings or other women’s health imaging, AHI has a location near you. Make an appointment today.