Jyoti Priya Deonarine (RR)
This time of year it is a tradition for many people to make new year resolutions, but how many people actually follow through with them or even make realistic goals and promises?Today, I am going to provide you with a very realistic goal, the goal of confirming the status of your breast health.
Just like doing a blood test or any other test to know your health status, breast screening is also very important and the process can be very simple and comprehensive.
Having been the mammographer at Pink Hibiscus Breast Health Specialists Centre over the past year, there have been many questions posed to me by my patients, and I have been entertained by stories beyond one's imagination about the process of having breast screening; to be more specific, the horror stories of having a mammogram.
Well ladies, great news for 2016, digital mammography has transformed the breast screening experience–it is no longer a painful process where patients' breasts are squeezed between cold metal plates, instead a clear plastic plate is used and patients may feel some discomfort.
However, compression is necessary to spread out the breast tissue, reduce motion, and keep the breast still so the clearest picture can be obtained. The radiation dose to the patient is also decreased.
Visibility and sensitivity are two prime factors which have improved with the advent of digital mammography–images stored on film cannot be altered however, with digital mammography the contrast and density (brightness and darkness) of images can be adjusted, and the radiologist can also magnify and make other alterations to the digital images to increase visibility of breast tissue and vessels. A programme was developed, Computer Aided Detection (CAD), which has been designed to detect abnormalities or suspicious areas of interest. With this latest introduction breast cancer detection rates have tremendously increased as the smallest abnormality can be diagnosed, increasing prognosis for patients.
Mammography is the art of imaging breast tissue with the use of low-dose x-rays, which are performed by a mammographer. The process involves the breast being placed on the machine and compressed with a plate, the compression lasts only for a few seconds and generally, two images are taken of each breast.
Images were conventionally stored on films, however technological advances have led to the use of computers for image processing and storage, it's like your own personal camera. Cameras once used films, which had to be processed and developed, but now digital cameras takes clearer pictures and you can see them instantly.
The techniques applied to conventional and digital mammography are largely different with the major similarities being the patient's positioning and technique. Digital and computerised mammography are sometimes used interchangeably, however computerised mammography is a three-step process where cassettes are still utilised which have to be processed before the images can be seen, whereas Direct Digital Mammography is a two-step process which captures images on a receptor without the use of cassettes and the image is seen instantly.
Waiting times have now been decreased as mammograms can be done at a minimum of 15 minutes from start to finish. Telemammography assists with sending and receiving images for reporting. Imagine the benefit of having your breast screening in Pink Hibiscus and knowing that the best radiologist in the world is able to read it. Digital mammography reporting is done by a radiologist who can access the images and provide a report instantly, the radiologist can either be on-site or off-site.
So now you have heard all the facts about digital mammography, I suggest you contact your breast specialist centre to book an appointment because having a digital mammogram (ask for it by name) done can aid in early detection of breast cancer, and consulting with your breast specialist can map the course you take with your breast care needs, hence digital mammography is the best way forward when dealing with your breasts. So don't let 2016 pass you by–cheers ladies, all the breast for the New Year!
Jyoti Deonarine (RR)
Pink Hibiscus Breast Health Specialists
5 Adam Smith Square
Tel: (868) 627-1010
FAX: (868) 625-1020