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Breast Health and Imaging

Dartmouth-Hitchcock breast imaging specialists work in concert with care providers from other clinical disciplines to provide an integrated approach to all aspects of breast health.

When should I start having mammograms?

Women who prefer to maximize life-extending benefits and seek improved treatment options for breast cancer should choose annual screening starting at age 40. They should continue as long as they are in good health.

Get the facts about your options for starting mammograms, with this decision aid on our Dartmouth-Hitchcock Healthwise® Health Encyclopedia website.

Breast Cancer Screening: Mammography

Screening mammography is used to find early stage breast cancer at a time when it is more easily cured—when the cancer is still too small to be felt as a lump, and when the risk of cancer spreading is still low. Dartmouth-Hitchcock offers the latest breast health services and mammography breast exams including 2-dimensional (2-D) digital mammography and 3-D digital breast mammography tomosynthesis.

Diagnosis

If your screening mammogram suggests that you need further testing, we have a full range of diagnostic tests, including additional mammography, breast ultrasound, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), and if needed, breast biopsy. Our highly trained team of radiologists work closely with the Comprehensive Breast Program at Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) to provide a thorough diagnosis and approach to your breast health.

Evaluation and treatment

The Norris Cotton Cancer Center is an NCI accredited cancer center and academic research facility with a national reputation. The Comprehensive Breast Program offers many types of standard and new treatments, including national and regional clinical trials that might not be available at smaller community hospitals. Through an integrated approach, highly trained specialists from a variety of medical disciplines work together to provide the very best treatment plan, and to deliver a range of medical and supportive services focused on you, not just your disease.

Breast imaging research

Dartmouth radiologists have a longstanding commitment to breast imaging research. Highlights include pioneering clinical trials on 3-D mammography, studies on the non-surgical treatment of tumors through freezing (cryoablation), and research into the usefulness of MRI in detecting small breast lesions. In collaboration with the Thayer School of Engineering, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock radiologists have helped develop alternative breast imaging systems involving near-infrared light, electrical impedance, microwave spectroscopy, and measurements of tissue elasticity. The hope is that these techniques, alone or in combination with existing modalities, can improve the accuracy, comfort and safety of existing methods.

World-class diagnostics and treatment

The Breast Imaging Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center has been awarded recognition by the American College of Radiology (ACR) as a Breast Imaging "Center of Excellence" for the range and quality of breast imaging services it provides. The team has a long history of commitment to patient care, to teaching future breast technologists and radiologists, to breast imaging research, and to providing the most advanced equipment and expertise available anywhere.

The Breast Health and Imaging Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Nashua was the first in Nashua to use digital mammography and receive Accreditation by the America College of Radiology, and was one of the first centers offering breast MRI and breast-guided biopsies.

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