Doctors say mammograms are saving lives. “Mammography has been shown to be the best way to reduce mortality from breast cancer,” said Dr. Gail Santucci, a radiologist on the medical staff of Lee Health.
Every woman over the age of 40 should have an annual mammogram. “Having a regular mammogram allows us to see what your breast tissue looks like normally, and then we look for changes each year that might be concerning for breast cancer developing,” said Dr. Santucci.
Looking from top to bottom and side to side, the images allow physicians to find breast cancer early. “We’re looking at the breast tissue and the normal pattern of breast tissue, which is a combination of glandular and fatty tissue. Then we are looking whether there is a new area of distortion, a new mass, new suspicious calcification,” said Dr. Santucci.
After a mammogram, radiologists look at the images that same day. If any changes or concerns are found, the patient will be called and brought back for further imaging. “People have different densities in their breast tissues, so the more dense tissue they have, the easier it is for cancer to hide in normal tissue,” said Dr. Santucci.
Regardless if a patient has dense breast tissue or breast implants, a mammogram can show changes that the patient isn’t able to feel. “We are certainly very comfortable imaging women with breast implants. We do it all the time. It does require some extra pictures because the implants displace the breast tissue. We have to take some extra pictures to try to push the implants out of the way, and then pictures where we include the implants to make sure that we get the entire margin around that,” said Dr. Santucci.
An important and lifesaving screening that shouldn’t be missed.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.