How can I choose the right breast screening method?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

The best thing you can do is be a proactive, smart patient and take charge of your breast health. Here are some suggestions:

  • Go to a center that specializes in breast imaging and may be able to use other imaging modalities that may be right for you.
  • Ask your doctor to compare your mammogram to previous mammograms. It makes life-threatening cancerous changes easier to see. If you’re switching centers, ask your previous center for copies of your mammograms to give to your new doctor for review.
  • Ask your doctor if other imaging modalities are right for you. If you have dense breasts, you may benefit from a breast ultrasound or an MRI. With an MRI, Christina Applegate, at age 36, was diagnosed with breast cancer that a mammogram missed. Her organization, Right Action for Women, provides aid to individuals who are at increased risk for breast cancer and do not have insurance or the financial flexibility to cover the high costs associated with breast screenings.

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Patricia Geraghty, NP
Women's Health

There is a modification to mammogram, using specially enabled machines with computer assisted imaging, called tomosynthesis. This is also popularly called 3D Mammogram. Radiologists have been enthusiastic about this technique for years. We now have data to back up the enthusiasm: tomosynthesis significantly reduces the number of false positive screenings or "call backs" for further imaging. It is also sightly better able to detect cancer lesions than traditional mammogram. Ask if your clinician will write an order for tomosynthesis if you are interested.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.