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Breast Imaging

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​What is Breast Imaging?

  • Breast imaging involves taking images of your breast tissue for screening and diagnostic purposes.
  • Usually, it comprises of mammograms and breast ultrasound scans.

What is a Mammogram?

  • A mammogram uses low dose radiation waves (x-ray).
  • They are used to screen and diagnose abnormalities in the breast. This allows you to detect breast cancer early.

How is a Mammogram Performed?

  • A specific x-ray machine is used to perform the mammogram.
  • You have to stand during the scan.
  • Your breast will be placed on a flat surface and it will be compressed for 10 to 15 seconds with a compression paddle (refer to illustration below).
  • You will feel some pressure. Let the radiographer know if you experience any discomfort.

Breast Imaging 1.jpg

What is a Breast Ultrasound Scan?

  • An ultrasound scan uses high frequency sound waves.
  • It is safe, non-invasive, does not use radiation and is widely used in imaging.
  • Your doctor may request a breast ultrasound scan together with a mammogram

Why is a Breast Ultrasound Scan Needed?

  • Ultrasound scan helps to characterise breast abnormalities (e.g. lumps) found during a physical examination or on mammographs.
  • They can determine if an abnormality is solid or fluid-filled (e.g. a benign cyst) and treat it promptly.

How is an Ultrasound Performed?

Breast Imaging 2.jpg

  • You will lie on your back and raise your arm during the scan.
  • The radiographer will apply a special gel on your breast and use a transducer to scan the area being examined.
  • The ultrasound gel will be wiped off once the scan is done.
  • The scanning process will take around 30 to 60 minutes.

What do I Need to do to Prepare for a Mammogram or Ultrasound?

  1. Schedule a breast imaging appointment with TTSH Breast Clinic. Do schedule an appointment at least 1 week post menstruation. This helps to minimise any discomfort.
  2. Do let the radiographer know if you are pregnant or could be pregnant.
  3. Wear a 2 piece suit to your appointment as you will need to undress from the waist up during the breast imaging.
  4. Avoid using any deodorant, perfume, ointment, talcum powder and lotion on your appointment day. These may show up as abnormalities in the mammograms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Am I at risk of getting breast cancer?

A: All women are at risk of getting breast cancer. Some of the factors that increases your risk includes:

  • Age - Your risk increases as you get older.
  • Family history – Your  risk increases if you have relatives who had breast cancer.

Q: When should I go for breast imaging?

A: Please seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the signs and symptoms below:

  • Breast pain
  • Breast lump(s)
  • Changes in your nipples and /or surrounding tissues

Your doctor will advise you if breast imaging is needed. You are encouraged to do a mammogram yearly if you are between 40 to 49 years old and two-yearly if you are 50 years old and above.

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