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Digital Mammogram Versus Film Mammogram  

What is a digital mammogram? Is it better than a film mammogram?

Digital mammography uses the same technique as film screen mammography, except that in the digital method, the image is recorded directly into a computer. The image can then be enlarged, highlighted, or otherwise manipulated for improved imaging, without requiring the taking of another mammogram. If there is a suspicious area, your doctors can use the computer to take a closer look.

Often radiologists read a patient’s digital mammogram with the help of computer-aided detection ("CAD") programs. Because the images are electronic, they can be sent directly to a patient's doctor for review — a wonderful convenience.

Other advantages of digital mammograms are that they:

• Can reduce exposure to radiation, due to reduction of the need for repeat mammograms for better imaging

• Take pictures of the entire breast, even if the denseness of the breast tissue varies

• Are more sensitive, compared to film mammography, for detection of abnormalities in women with dense breasts, pre-menopausal women, perimenopausal women, and women <50 years of age[1, 2]

However, digital mammograms are more expensive and not as widely available. On the other hand, as the newer technology of digital mammography becomes more affordable, the availability of digital mammography should become more common.

REFERENCE

1. National Cancer Institute. Digital mammography trial results announced: women with dense breasts, women younger than 50, and those who are perimenopausal may benefit from digital mammograms. Accessed at www.cancer.gov/newscenter/pressreleases/DMISTrelease.
2. E. D. Pisano, C. Gatsonis, E. Hendrick, M. Yaffe, et al. Diagnostic performance of digital versus film mammography for breast cancer screening. New England Journal of Medicine. 2005; 353(37):1773-1783.


Questions Related to Digital Mammogram Versus Film Mammogram
What is a mammogram?
Do mammograms prevent breast cancer?
I have had a mastectomy, but the cancer has been in remission for 2 years. Should I get a mammogram on the other breast?
Who should get a mammogram? When? How often?
If mammograms are so good at detecting nonsymptomatic tumors, why should I bother with a monthly breast self exam (BSE)?
I have breast implants. How can I get properly screened?
Are there different types of mammograms?
Are mammograms safe?
How is a mammogram performed?
How can I get ready for my mammogram?
Are there any problems with mammography?
Are mammograms painful?
Where should I get a mammogram?
What if my health insurance does not cover mammograms?
I don't have health insurance. Where can I get a free or low-cost mammogram?
How often should I get a mammogram?
How long until you get the results of your mammogram?
What is an ultrasound? What is ultrasonography? When are these procedures recommended as an examination of the breast?
Why are mammograms not recommended for women under 30?
Does the radiation from a mammogram cause cancer?
How accurate are mammograms?
Are mammograms less accurate if you are significantly overweight?
What is "implantation displacement view?"
I have heard of the Eklund Technique for women with breast implants. What is the Eklund Technique exactly?
I've heard that mammograms can cause implants to burst. Is this true?
Are MRIs better than mammograms for screening young women with a high breast cancer risk?
Should I get a mammogram if I am pregnant?
What happens if a woman detects an abnormality while she is nursing?
What is breast thermography? Does it give accurate results? Is it used in combination with or instead of mammography?
What is a sonogram? What is the purpose of a sonogram? What do the results of a sonogram mean?
What is a spot compression mammogram?
What is spot compression?
I am breastfeeding my child. Can I have a mammogram?
How can I find and participate in a clinical trial on screening for breast cancer?
What is the SureTouch Visual Mapping System?
What is a clinical breast exam with tactile sensing technology?
What does a Category 0 mammogram result mean?
What does a Category 0/Level 4 result of a mammogram mean?
What does a Category 1 mammogram result mean?
What does a Category 2 mammogram result mean?
What does a Category 3 mammogram result mean?
What does a Category 4 mammogram result mean?
What does a Category 5 mammogram result mean?
How effective are mammograms in detecting breast cancer?
What is a clinical breast exam?
How often should I get a clinical breast exam?
What does screening mean?

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