Mammograms are taken by either film or digitally. Not only do digital mammograms provide a quicker mammography experience, but they have several additional benefits over film.



  • Is reported to be more sensitive in detecting early breast cancer

  • The image can be lightened, darkened, enlarged, or otherwise manipulated to make it easier to identify differences between normal and abnormal tissue

  • Requires fewer repeat images, reducing your exposure to radiation by about 25% compared to a traditional mammogram

  • Can be analyzed by a computer as well as by a radiologist

  • Allows physicians to share the mammograms electronically, making long-distance consultations quicker and easier

Digital mammograms are also better at detecting irregularities in women under the age of 50, women who have dense breasts, or those who haven’t gone through menopause or have been in menopause for less than one year.



A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast used in the detection of breast cancer. The images produced by mammograms are checked for irregularities or changes from previous tests.

Mammograms are taken by positioning your breast between two plates that flatten and compress the breast. This allows images of your breast to be taken from top to bottom and side to side. The process generally takes about 20 minutes.


 3D Mammography Exams

Available at DCH Regional Medical Center and Northport Medical Center

3D Mammography exams are clinically proven to be superior to conventional 2D exams. Utilizing advanced breast tomosynthesis technology, 3D exams are clinically proven to significantly increase the detection of breast cancers, and also decreasing the number of women asked to return for additional testing.

In conventional 2D Mammography, overlapping tissue is a leading reason why small breast cancers may be missed and normal tissue may appear abnormal, leading to unnecessary callbacks. A 3D exam includes a three-dimensional method of imaging that can greatly reduce the tissue overlap effect.

A 3D exam includes both 2D images and tomosynthesis scans. During the exam, an X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple images. A computer then converts the images into a stack of thin layers, allowing the radiologist to review the breast tissue one layer at a time. A 3D exam requires no additional compression and takes just a few seconds longer than a conventional 2D breast cancer screening exam.

About 3D Mammography Exams

The breast is a three-dimensional object composed of different structures located at different heights within the breast. These structures can overlap and cause confusion when viewed as a flat two-dimensional image. This confusion of overlapping of tissue is a leading reason why small breast cancers may be missed and normal tissue may appear abnormal, leading to unnecessary callbacks. Using breast tomosynthesis technology, the 3D system creates a 3-dimensional image of the breast structure, which enables radiologists to more clearly see through overlapping tissue to detect cancers, often at an earlier stage.

DCH is committed to the fight against breast cancer. In offering the 3D exam, DCH provides a more accurate tool for breast cancer screening.


have found that:

  • The Genius™ 3D Mammography™ exam finds 20-65% more invasive breast cancers compared to 2D alone, an average increase of 41%.

  • Only the Genius™ 3D Mammography™ exam is FDA approved as superior for women with dense breasts compared to 2D alone.

  • The Genius™ 3D Mammography™ exam reduces callbacks by up to 40% compared to 2D alone.

*References can be found at


The American Cancer Society recommends that women have a screening mammogram starting ages 40­-45, yearly mammograms ages 45-54, and every other year for women 55 and older. The American College of Radiology recommends yearly screening mammograms starting at age 40. They do not have a recommended stopping age.


When it’s time to consider a mammogram, know that digital mammography provides a clearer image that makes it easier to detect early breast cancer. However, digital mammograms can only be taken in certified facilities that have received FDA approval to offer digital mammography, like the DCH Imaging Center.


Make sure to discuss digital mammography with your doctor, along with family history and other factors that may influence when you should have a mammogram. When it comes to detecting early breast cancer, you can’t take chances.  A digital mammogram at the DCH Imaging Center could save your life. That’s why it’s the most important picture you’ll ever take.


Ask your physician for a referral today.

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