An annual mammogram is recommended by the American Cancer Society for all women 40 and older who are at average risk of getting breast cancer. For women at high-risk, the guidelines advise you to discuss your risk with your healthcare provider to decide whether or not additional testing is indicated. One out of every eight women is likely to develop breast cancer in their lifetime. You may be at higher risk if:
- You are age 50 or older
- Your mother or sisters have had breast cancer
- You already have had cancer in one breast
- You have had a prior breast biopsy
Currently, two-thirds of breast cancers are diagnosed at a localized stage, for which the five-year survival rate is 97%. This high rate of early detection can be attributed to utilization of mammography screening. A better understanding of breast cancer symptoms within our population has also helped to increase detection.
Mammograms, breast examinations by your physician, and self-examination of your breasts are all important tools in detecting early breast cancer. Resources for learning how to properlyperform a breast self-examination (BSE) are listed below:
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation provides information on breast self-exams on their website .
Digital Mammography captures images of the breast using low doses of radiation. A radiologist adjusts these images using a computer to achieve optimum viewing of all areas of the breast. Services offered by the mammography department include screening mammograms and diagnostic mammograms, as well as needle localizations for breast biopsies.
Before Your Mammogram
When making your appointment, please notify the scheduler if you have implants or large breasts, or if you are unable to stand on your own, so that additional time can be allotted for your exam. Please do not use perfume, powder, or deodorant on the day of your exam. If you forget, wipes will be provided to remove deodorant.
Time Required for Your Mammogram
Screening mammograms generally last 15 minutes. Diagnostic mammograms and needle localizations require additional time.
Who Performs Your Mammogram
Radiologic Technologists certified in Mammography will perform your exam.
During Your Mammogram
The breast is positioned on a flat surface as a compression panel is lowered over it (compression is necessary to produce an optimal breast x-ray). A minimum of four pictures are taken for a screening mammogram, although additional images are sometimes needed to complete the study. Our staff is dedicated to making the process as comfortable as possible for the patient which is why we use the MammoPad for all exams. This foam pad helps to properly position the breast and provides a cushion between the patient and the mammography machine.
After Your Mammogram
A radiologist will analyze the images obtained during your mammogram and send a written report to your doctor, typically within 48 hours. The radiologist will contact your doctor immediately if any serious abnormality is found.