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Celebrate National Mammography Day-Schedule Your Annual Mammogram

Celebrate National Mammography Day-Schedule Your Annual Mammogram

the best defense in the fight against breast cancer is early detection graphic

On October 19, 2018, join Frederick Regional Health System as we celebrate National Mammography Day—a day to remind all women that the best defense in the fight against breast cancer is early detection.

Mammogram screening is an important step in taking care of yourself and your health. This low-dose x-ray allows radiologists to look for abnormal breast tissue. Mammograms can find breast cancer when it’s still too small to be felt during a self-exam. Finding cancer at this early stage—when it’s still small and hasn’t spread throughout the body—gives doctors the best chances for treating it successfully.

The American Cancer Society recommends that women at average risk should begin yearly mammograms starting at age 40; women should begin yearly mammograms at 45, and they can switch to every two years at 55. Most important, all women—no matter their age—should let their doctor know if they experience any breast changes.

Whether you’re having your first mammogram or you’re experienced with the process, knowing what to expect helps you to navigate the exam more smoothly.

10 Things to Know About Mammograms

1. Mammography is the most powerful, effective breast cancer detection tool. Since 1990, mammography has helped to reduce breast cancer mortality in the U.S. by nearly 40 percent. However, mammograms can still miss up to 20 percent of breast cancers not visible using the technology. While other complementary techniques—self-exams, clinical breast exams, ultrasounds, MRI, etc.—can and should be used, there is no substitute for a mammogram to detect breast cancer.

2. Mammograms do not prevent breast cancer. They only detect cancer that already exists. In most cases, breast cancers have been present for years by the time they appear on mammograms.

3. Screening and diagnostic mammograms are different. A screening mammogram is routinely ordered annually for women with no current breast issues; a diagnostic mammogram is ordered to evaluate specific breast findings. This includes lumps, pain, discharge, skin changes, and other possible abnormalities noted on a screening mammogram.

4. A mammogram uses a machine to look only at breast tissue. Because X-rays don’t go through tissue easily, the machine has two plates that compress or flatten the breast to spread the tissue apart. This gives a better picture of the tissue and allows less radiation to be used.

5. An unusual test result does not always equal breast cancer. Only about two to four screening mammograms of every 1,000 lead to a breast cancer diagnosis. The American Cancer Society reports that 1 in 10 women who have a mammogram require more tests—only 8%- 10% of these women will need a biopsy, and about 80% will turn out not to be cancer.

6. Mammograms are not scary. Mammography is a fast procedure—typically only 20 minutes—and discomfort is minimal.

7. The benefits of mammography outweigh any possible harm from radiation exposure. On average, the total dose for a typical mammogram with two views of each breast is only 0.4 mSv (a measure of radiation dose)—for comparison, people in the U.S. are exposed to about 3 mSv of radiation, on average, just from their natural surroundings.

8. Even if you have no breast health concerns, you should still get regular mammograms. As you get older, your chances of having breast cancer increase. Women can get breast cancer even after menopause. Even if you have no changes, lumps, or concerns with your breasts—and even if you have no history of breast cancer in your family—you still need a mammogram.

9. Mammograms are affordable. Insurance plans governed by the Affordable Care Act cover screening mammography as a preventive benefit every one to two years for women age 40 and over, without copays, coinsurance, or deductibles. Medicare pays for annual screening mammograms for all female beneficiaries 40 and older, and many states require that Medicaid and public employee health plans cover screening mammography.

10. Opt for the best quality you can. A 3D mammogram, for example, is a new screening and diagnostic tool that takes multiple images to produce a 3D image of the breast tissue. This allows the radiologist reading and interpreting the mammogram to see more detail than ever before. We are proud to offer digital 3D mammography on site at our Frederick Health Crestwood and Frederick Health Rose Hill locations.

What to Know Before You Go

Before Your Exam

  • Do not wear under-arm deodorant until after your mammogram. Many technologists, including those at FRHS, can supply you with deodorant after the exam if you wish.
  • Schedule your mammogram thoughtfully. It’s best to schedule your mammogram the week after your menstrual period. Make sure your breasts aren’t tender or swollen on the day you schedule your mammogram. This helps to reduce any discomfort and get a better picture at your breast tissue.
  • Bring your past mammogram results with you and provide them to whoever will be looking at your new results, especially if you’ve been to the same imaging facility before.
  • Wear a two-piece outfit so you can remove your top easily. The technologist will give you a gown to wear during the exam.

During Your Exam

  • You’ll have the opportunity to take a risk assessment while seated in a private environment.
  • The technologist will ask you questions about your breast health and history.
  • In order to obtain the best quality images, the mammography unit will compress your breast. Our mammography machines are equipped with the SmartCurve system, and Mammo Pad to minimize discomfort. The SmartCurve system improves comfort in 93% of patients who reported moderate to severe discomfort with standard compression.
  • Typically, two images of each breast are taken in each routine exam.
  • We offer the latest technology in breast imaging using 3D breast tomography. This technology captures images of each breast in 1mm layers and enables the radiologist to better detect tumors. If you want 3D tomography to be included in your screening mammogram, contact your insurance carrier to verify benefits prior to your exam.

After Your Exam

  • A board-certified, on-site radiologist will interpret your exam, and printed results will be sent to your ordering physician. Your radiologist will determine if additional testing is needed, and if so, additional images can be obtained the same day.
  • An imaging navigator is available to assist you if a biopsy or other procedure is needed. Imaging navigators can provide education, obtain personal and family medical history, answer any questions, and provide assistance in scheduling exams. If your genetic risk is high, the imaging navigator is available to meet with you based on your provider preferences to discuss the Screening and Prevention Program.
  • When leaving, you’ll also receive a hard copy of your mammogram results, your genetic risk score, and breast density notice (if you’ve been identified as having dense breasts).

Ready to Schedule an Appointment?

Frederick Health Imaging Services is proud to be the only provider of same-day breast imaging services in the Frederick community. Our patient-friendly workflow allows us to reduce callbacks for additional images, ultimately reducing stress for patients and the need for follow-up appointments.

The latest Hologic 3D mammography screening technologies are available at both our Rose Hill and Crestwood facilities—we provide convenient access to Frederick Health Imaging Services, no matter where our patients live and work in Frederick County. Our locations, hours of operation, and contact information are all available on our website.

Join us in the fight against breast cancer—schedule your mammogram today! Call Frederick Health Imaging Services at 240-566-3400 to make an appointment with the only comprehensive mammography provider in Frederick.