Answering Common Questions About Diagnostic Mammograms

Scheduled Mammogram

Mammograms are an important part of preventative care for women, as well as diagnosing and managing breast cancer care. Diagnostic mammograms are a step beyond routine screening mammograms and are usually ordered for further evaluation of an abnormality. The radiologist at your medical imaging center in San Antonio will be happy to answer any questions you have about your diagnostic mammogram. Here are the answers to some of the questions patients have most frequently.

Diagnostic Mammograms When is a diagnostic mammogram ordered?

You may be referred for a diagnostic mammogram if your healthcare provider notices symptoms that could indicate that you have abnormal tissue growth in your breast. You may also be referred for a diagnostic mammogram if you report a change in your breast health, such as a lump or nipple discharge to your doctor. By performing a diagnostic mammogram, your doctor can determine if your symptoms are associated with a benign condition or if you may need further testing for cancer.

What happens during a diagnostic mammogram?

A diagnostic mammogram is performed in the same way as a screening mammogram. Your breasts will be placed one at a time between two plates that then compress the breasts so that an X-ray picture can be taken. Your radiologist may take extra images of a particular part of your breast if requested by your doctor, if there is one area in particular he or she wants to study. Although some women experience minor discomfort during the compression process, it only lasts for a few seconds.

What happens after a diagnostic mammogram?

A radiologist will review your mammogram and provide information about the results to your doctor. If there are areas of the mammogram that could be associated breast cancer, your doctor may order additional testing. An ultrasound and a needle biopsy test can give your doctor more information about the cellular changes in your breast, so he or she can determine if you should undergo treatment for breast cancer.

Getting Past Your MRI Nervousness

MRI Machine

When it comes to MRIs, it’s not uncommon to have a little nervousness before your test. The good news is that MRIs are completely painless, and your imaging center specialist in San Antonio will ensure that you are comfortable throughout the entire process.

MRI Machine This video will give you some insight about what to expect during your MRI, so you can approach your scan with more confidence. It’s normal for the MRI machine to make noise during the test as the scan occurs, so don’t be alarmed by loud sounds. Before your MRI, contact the imaging center if you have any concerns about claustrophobia during the test, which can be easily managed, if necessary.

Nuclear Medicine: What to Expect

Medical Science

If you’ve been referred to Concord Imaging Center in San Antonio for nuclear medicine, you probably have some questions about what to expect. This kind of medical imaging test might sound intimidating, but in reality, it is virtually painless and involves no more radiation than a typical X-ray. Concord Imaging - Nuclear Medicine - San Antonio

When you go in for a nuclear medicine imaging test, you will receive an injection of a radiopharmaceutical substance. The needle prick is the only part of the test that causes even mild discomfort. After the injection, you will wait a specified amount of time for the substance to travel to organs that are being tested. When it is time for the scan, you will be asked to remain still so that the images are as clear as possible. Depending on the reason for your test, the scan will take between 20 and 45 minutes. After your test, any small amount of radiation in your body will be expelled through urine and stool for up to a few days after the scan.

Why PET Scans Are an Important Part of Cancer Care

Person Receiving MRI

Positron emission tomography scans, or PET scans , do more than static medical imaging tests, like MRIs and CT scans. PET scans show your doctor the chemical changes that happen in the metabolism because of diseased or abnormal cells. PET scans can be used in conjunction with other medical imaging tests in San Antonio for a number of reasons, including cancer care. Pet scans are used in a number of different ways in cancer care, including the following applications.

PET Scan Diagnosing Cancer

PET scans are helpful in diagnosing cancer because they don’t simply provide anatomical imaging but also offer biological information. Through a PET scan, your doctor can see areas of your body with high rates of sugar metabolism, which can indicate an active tumor. Cancerous cells thrive on sugar, so when a PET scan is performed after a glucose injection, abnormal, potentially cancerous cells will consume the glucose faster than other parts of the body. Often, PET scans are combined with CT scans to make a cancer diagnosis both at the outset of the disease and when cancer recurs after treatment.

Treating Cancer

For patients undergoing cancer treatment, PET scans help to evaluate the effectiveness of their care plans. Through a PET scan, doctors can determine if the treatment is shrinking the tumor or if a change needs to be made to the types of treatment being used. During cancer treatment, patients may undergo multiple PET scans in conjunction with other tests designed to determine how well different treatments are working.

Tracking Cancer

In order to make decisions about different treatments, doctors have to understand if cancer has spread beyond its origin point. PET scans help providers find cancer in other parts of the body that can indicate that the disease has metastasized. This process also helps doctors determine the stage of the cancer, which is an important part of making treatment decisions.