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Breast Center of ExcellenceMammography

All imaging centers that perform mammograms are accredited through American College of Radiology (ACR). In the Kern County area, only Kern Radiology currently has been awarded the additional accreditation by ACR of “Breast Imaging Center of Excellence.” It means that Kern Radiology has sought and earned accreditation in all areas of breast health: Mammography, Breast Ultrasound, Stereotactic Breast Biopsy.

Mammograms are the key to accurate diagnosis for thousands of women stricken with breast cancer every year, as well as those who receive a clean bill of health. There has been much discussion in television and print media regarding at what age women should start having mammograms performed. Kern Radiology supports the recommendations of the American Cancer Society with annual screening mammograms for all women beginning at age 40.

Digital mammography
The most significant advance in mammography has been the ongoing development of digital mammography vs. traditional film mammography. Both methods use low dose x-ray but use different media to record the images. Digital allows the radiologist to enlarge certain areas or change contrast of the image to provide a clearer view for the radiologist. For the patient, exam technique does not change digital or film.

F.A.Q.’s about mammography

What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is a special low-dose x-ray of the breast tissue that provides detailed images to help diagnose breast cancer and other conditions of the breast.
How often do I need a mammogram?
The American Cancer Society recommends, after age 40, monthly self examinations, along with an annual mammogram accompanied by a physical exam.
Why do they ask me when and where my last mammogram exam was?
Primarily for two reasons: First, if your previous mammogram is available, the radiologist will compare it with your current exam and look for subtle tissue changes.  Second, most insurance policies will only pay for 1 screening mammogram a year. If you were to have 2 exams within a 12-month period, insurance would probably decline to pay for the exam thereby making you responsible for the charges.
I am only 25 but I feel lump in my breast. Am I too young for a mammogram?
Never ignore a breast symptom, but see your physician about any concerns you may have. You may be too young for a mammogram, but there are additional exams, such as ultrasound that can assist in diagnosis of your breast lump. Breast tissue in younger women is usually denser and more sensitive to radiation. That is the reason for not performing a mammogram.
I am currently nursing an infant. Can I still have a mammogram exam?
It is generally better to wait until after you have stopped nursing to have your mammogram.
Why do they compress and squeeze my breast for a mammogram exam?
Compression helps to spread out the breast tissue and allows the radiologist to see breast tissue more clearly. An additional benefit is that compressed (thinner) breast requires less radiation exposure to obtain a diagnostic study.
I have breast implants. Should I still have a mammogram exam?
Breast implants require special views that take a little longer to perform. Please notify the scheduling staff of your augmentation when making your mammogram appointment.
Who reads or interprets my mammogram?
At Kern Radiology, your mammogram is read by one of our specially trained and credentialed Radiologists. They are required to maintain that competency on an annual basis.
I have received a letter from the imaging center that says I need to come back for additional views. What do I do now? Do I have cancer?
When additional views are needed, it is usually because an area of the mammogram needs more resolution. This can be due to a very dense area of your breast, or superimposed tissues. The majority of follow-up exams reveal a benign, non-cancerous situation.
What is the difference between a screening and diagnostic mammogram exam?
Screening mammogram is performed when you are asymptomatic – no lumps, discomfort, etc. A diagnostic mammogram is performed when your physician wants special attention to a specific area or suspects an abnormality. Additional views or follow-up ultrasound may be required.
Aren’t there better tests available such as Ultrasound or MRI?
Mammography is still the “gold standard” in breast imaging and has remained the best screening test for most women.