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Cancer Center

Breast Imaging in Southwestern Montana

We offer several types of breast imaging in affiliation with Advanced Medical Imaging.

Mammograms are x-ray exams of the breast, used to detect and evaluate breast changes. Screening mammograms can reveal cancers in very early stages when they are too small to be felt by hand, greatly improving the chance for successful treatment. Diagnostic mammograms are used to investigate possible problems and carefully study an area of concern to determine if further treatment is needed.

Tomosynthesis, or three-dimensional (3D) digital mammography, converts two-dimensional digital breast images into stacked, very thin slices, building a 3D mammogram. Overlapping normal breast tissue, especially if dense, can prevent physicians from seeing cancer on a 2D image. Tomosynthesis removes the impact of overlapping tissue, and allows radiologists to look through the tissue, one millimeter at a time, identifying and characterizing individual breast structures.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an imaging tool that uses radiofrequency waves to create detailed, cross-sectional pictures of the inside of the body, providing greater contrast within the soft tissues of the body than a CT scan. Unlike X-rays and CT scans, an MRI does not use radiation. MRI systems are able to distinguish between normal and diseased tissue, pinpointing cancerous cells within the body. MRI helps identify tumors in the breast that may not be visualized on a mammogram.

Ultrasound imaging technology uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of organs and tissues within the body without radiation. It can be used to precisely locate the position of a tumor in order to guide a biopsy or aspiration procedure. For example, ultrasound may be used to mark out the boundaries of a tumor prior to its removal. It can also be used to administer cancer treatments. Ultrasound technology allows for detection of slight abnormalities in dense breasts and determination of whether a lump is a cyst (sac containing fluid) or a solid mass.