Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose X-ray system to examine breasts. A mammography exam, called a mammogram, is used to aid in the diagnosis of breast diseases in women.
Mammograms are used as a screening tool to detect early breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms, and to detect and diagnose breast disease in women experiencing symptoms such as a lump, pain or nipple discharge.
Digital mammography is available at all four of our mammography locations--Mercy Medical Center in downtown Des Moines, Mercy North in Ankeny, Mercy West in Clive and Mercy East in Pleasant Hill. Digital mammography provides a faster, accurate image. We have recently added breast tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography as it is commonly referred to. This is an advanced type of digital mammography that uses high-powered computing to convert the digital images into a three-dimensional image of the breast.
3D mammography allows radiologists to see breast tissue in greater detail. Whereas a small tumor may have been undetectable in a regular digital mammogram, it is now more visible due to advances in imaging technology. Conventional two-dimensional digital mammography is still one of the most advanced forms of breast imaging; however, 3D mammography will reduce the chance a woman would need to return for additional images, and it is often recommended for women with dense breast tissue, though it has had improved cancer detection in all breast density types.
Our patients' comfort is import. That's why, Mercy is the only provider to offer patients the Mammopad®, a soft foam pad that provides a more comfortable mammogram.
Mercy has been recognized as a Pink Ribbon Facility™ by Hologic®–the leading manufacturer and supplier of diagnostic, surgical and medical imaging equipment–for excellence in breast health and use of advanced digital mammography technology.
For more information on mammography:
- American Cancer Society: Mammograms and other Breast Imaging Procedures
- Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation: Mammography Recommendations
* PDF documents require Adobe Reader.