Breast Imaging: Mammography
Before a patient arrives for an imaging exam, our diagnostic imaging providers review the orders for every CT, MRI and PET exam to ensure we’re conducting the most valuable study. Unlike most imaging centers, which use generic imaging protocols, our radiologists can access a patient’s records and prior imaging studies and then work with the primary provider to design an exam that answers specific clinical questions. This allows us to produce relevant, high-value, oncology-focused reports.
Our team of 21 board-certified imaging physicists continually updates and customizes our machines and imaging modalities. They design custom studies to improve cancer detection and routinely collaborate with leading companies to develop the latest imaging technology.
Subspecialized radiologists with expertise in oncology are available all day, every day to read our patients’ studies. Our radiologists ensure imaging reports are readily available to MD Anderson providers as well as to patients and referring providers (based on patient preference) via MyChart.
Diagnostic imaging clinics
In addition to offering imaging services at our Texas Medical Center locations, MD Anderson also operates imaging clinics in Bellaire, League City and West Houston. These locations offer convenient access, free parking and quick turn-around times. Learn more about our Diagnostic Imaging Clinics.
To schedule an imaging exam, refer a patient or speak with a radiologist, physicians and patients can call 713-745-5170.
- Press 1 for diagnostic imaging scheduling.
- Press 2 to speak to a radiologist or if you have other imaging concerns.
- Press 3 to speak with someone in Diagnostic Imaging administration
Patients who wish to receive their image exam records should contact our Image Library at 713-792-6210. Patients must complete a release of information form in order to obtain records of their imaging exams. Once completed, please email the release form to firstname.lastname@example.org, or fax to 713-563-5066.
As I get ready to go to Houston for a follow-up appointment, I'm
having scanxiety. It's that feeling of anxiety and worry that comes
with doctor appointments.
For me, anxiety strikes when I'm about to have scans to measure or confirm my cancer is gone. That's when I start thinking about recurrence and how I could battle cancer again.
Anxiety over cancer recurrence
Anxiety about my cancer returning isn't always at the front of my mind unless I'm headed for a scan or doctor's appointment.
But I leave for Houston this coming Wednesday, so those thoughts are currently on my mind.
The feelings aren't there because I'm feeling any differently or have any concerns. They are there simply because going to the doctor brings my cancer close to the surface again.
It's a reminder that I had cancer and that I fought hard, but it's also a stronger reminder that cancer is a part of my life.
Questions as I approach the one-year mark
I think about cancer a lot.
Often, people say "don't say that" if I talk about cancer coming back. Nobody knows if it will or won't come back. I need to be prepared for it to come back in hopes that it never does.
I'm close to my one-year anniversary of being cancer-free. It has been very similar to when a loved one passes away in the sense that the year has been measured by "last year I was sick for that" or "last year I wasn't sick for that event."
Now that I am approaching my one-year anniversary, I wonder if I will continue to measure time this way.
My friends and family know that I don't dwell on what I missed or how I felt during cancer. Sometimes I think it's harder to look back at those times than it was to go through them.
I recently went away with my friends for our annual trip. One day we rent bikes and go for a long ride. Part of our route goes over a long bridge.
Last year, I had to walk my bike up the bridge. This year, I made it without walking, but I kept thinking about last year, which took place a week after chemo.
As I rode over the bridge this year, I marveled at how I'd been able to ride more than five miles after chemo. I couldn't stop thinking, "How did I do that?"
Reminders of that time bring the reality of my never-ending fight with cancer into focus.
A waiting room bond
Sitting in the waiting room before a scan and a chemo appointment, I met a nice woman who was there for a follow-up scan. She had fairly significant scanxiety. Like me, she was a young mother.
We talked for quite a while and even chatted in the back after getting on our scrubs. I think it helped us both keep calm.
Her scan was negative.
She and I are now Facebook friends, and I enjoy keeping up with her life. Her life. Not her illness, her life.
My new reason to be anxious
This time, I'm also anxious because I'll be travelling to Houston alone for the first time. My usual travel companion, Barbara, will not be going with me this time.
I will miss my friend. I will miss our traditions and the places we normally go. I will miss the laughs and the rhythm of the trip that have become so familiar and comforting.
Linda Ryan thought she had checked cancer off her list. Having just run her first marathon, it was hard to imagine that her cervical cancer had returned after seven years. Cancer chose the wrong woman. She was ready to battle cancer for the third time with health, laughter and friendship.
Diagnostic imaging procedure videos
A CAT (computerized axial tomography) scan, also known as a CT scan, uses an x-ray machine to take several pictures from different angles, providing a highly detailed image. Some CT scans require contrast to enhance the image quality. Patients may be given contrast to drink or have it administered through an IV prior to a scan. Some areas of the body that are examined with a CT scan are the chest, the nervous system and musculoskeletal systems. MD Anderson offers weekend appointments for those needing a CT.
Clinical nuclear medicine uses a small amount of radioactive tracers to indicate the presence of disease within specific organs. This imaging technique helps reveal the concentration and location of the disease. Exams performed include bone scans, bone mineral density, thyroid cancer study and more.
Fluoroscopy/radiography utilizes x-rays to take a wide variety of images that form a live look at internal organs. This type of imaging is common for pediatric patients. Fluoroscopy can also be used to help guide the placement of medical devices inside the body. The spine, chest, pelvis and more are evaluated with this method.
General/body ultrasound operates with high-energy sound waves that bounce off internal tissues and organs and produce echo patterns. The echo patterns create a picture referred to as a sonogram, which can be seen on the ultrasound machine. A biopsy may also be performed during an ultrasound. Ovarian screening, pelvic bleeding and abnormal blood work are a few reasons to perform an ultrasound.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses magnetic fields and radio waves, rather than radiation, to generate pictures of the body’s soft tissue and organs. Contrast may be added into the body to enhance the images. Metal outside the body, such as jewelry, must be taken off, while metal inside the body, such as surgical implants, must be removed before a scan. An MRI can be used to image the head, spine, abdomen and other body parts. MRI is available during the weekend at some MD Anderson locations.
PET (positron emission tomography) scan is a technique in which a small dose of radioactive sugar is injected into a patient. A scanner shows where the sugar is being distributed, allowing for the creation of an image. The pictures can help radiologists find cancer cells in the body. Tests are conducted for PET oncology and neurology.
X-rays are the most common way doctors attain images of the inside of the body. They use low doses of high-energy radiation that travel through the body. Radiography refers to the use of x-rays. Radiologists can spot abnormal areas in x-ray images that may indicate the presence of cancer.