Wesley Medical Center provides women with a safe, comfortable and private environment for mammogram testing. Most appointments can be accommodated within a few days and test results are typically available within 3-5 business days. For women, protecting yourself against breast cancer is crucial for your health. Annual mammograms can detect breast cancer in the early stages, which could save your life.
Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines
Mammography is an effective screening tool to identify breast cancer in women. According to the American Cancer Society, women age 45 to 54 should get a mammogram every year. Additional screening guidelines for women are as follows:
- Women age 40 to 44 have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms
- Women age 55 and older should get a mammogram every two years, or can continue yearly screenings
- All women should be familiar with the benefits, limitations and potential harms linked to breast cancer screenings
Women should talk to their primary care physician about breast cancer risk factors, including if they have a history of breast cancer in their family. The National Breast Cancer Foundation advises adult women to perform breast self-exams monthly.
Wesley Medical Center provides multiple mammogram services for patients:
- Screening Mammogram — a digital screening mammogram is a safe, low-dose X-ray exam of the breast for women who are not currently experiencing any symptoms or have no concerns about their breast health. A screening mammogram is used to identify cancer in the early stages and consists of four views (two of each breast). A screening mammogram is often the best way to detect breast cancer early.
- Diagnostic Mammogram — a diagnostic mammogram is scheduled when a digital screening mammogram uncovers a suspicious area of the breast, or additional views are needed beyond the four views captured during the routine mammogram.
- Breast Ultrasound — a breast ultrasound is often used to determine whether a breast lump or mass is solid or fluid-filled. During a breast ultrasound, a technologist views the images on a video monitor, which are then captured and then reviewed by a radiologist. There is no radiation exposure during a breast ultrasound.
- Ductogram — a ductogram may be performed when a woman is experiencing draining that is not associated with routine cases. A ductogram is a contrast-enhanced mammogram used for imaging the breast ducts. This type of exam can aid in diagnosing an abnormal nipple discharge, intraductal papillomas or other conditions.
- Breast MRI — beginning in mid-2019, Wesley Medical Center will be able to accommodate patients who need a Breast MRI. Typically, a Breast MRI is scheduled for patients who have a known breast cancer, are at high risk for developing breast cancer, have especially dense breast tissue, or have breast implants that have experienced a rupture.
Frequently Asked Questions about Mammograms and Breast Cancer Screenings
Will I be exposed to radiation during my mammogram?
There is some exposure to radiation during a mammogram. However, the machines are set to the lowest dose of radiation possible to minimize the risk of exposure during the screening.
Are mammograms painful?
Some women might find the pressure of the plates on their breasts to be uncomfortable or somewhat painful. It is best to schedule your mammogram when your breasts are not tender. Typically, in premenopausal women, this is usually one week after menstruation. If you are experiencing pain during your mammogram, you can ask the technologist to reposition you. Each X-ray during a mammogram takes less than a minute.
Can I get a mammogram if I have breast implants?
Women with breast implants also need to have annual or regularly scheduled mammograms. If you have breast implants, notify the clinic before making your appointment. Implants can hide some breast tissue, which might make it harder for the radiologist to detect a problem when looking at your mammogram. During the exam, the X-ray technologist might need to gently lift the breast tissue away from the implant to take additional pictures of the breast.
What happens if my mammogram comes back as abnormal?
If your screening test results come back as abnormal, a doctor may have you undergo a physical exam or order more tests, such as a Diagnostic Mammogram, a Breast Ultrasound, an MRI, or a Biopsy, in which fluid or tissue is removed from the breast to determine if there is a cancer. An abnormal test result does not necessarily mean that a patient has breast cancer. A patient may have a cyst in the breast, which are usually not cancerous (benign).
Preparing For Your Mammogram Visit
If you have had any mammograms performed at another facility in the past, arrange to have them sent to our clinic prior to your visit, or bring copies with you. This allows the radiologist to compare your previous scans with your current screening test results. On the day of your mammogram, women should not wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under their arms or breast. These products can often mimic breast disease.
During the exam, the technologist will gently position each breast on the imaging plate and apply compression to the breast. Women should expect to feel pressure from the compression. The imaging procedure only lasts a few moments. After each view, the breast will be repositioned to optimize the images for the next view.
Following your mammogram, the images will be reviewed by a board-certified radiologist who is specifically trained in breast imaging. A final report will be send to your doctor in a few business days, who will contact you to discuss the results in detail.
Make an Appointment
Women do not need a physician’s order for a breast screening mammogram. However, a physician who is managing your care is required. The results of your mammogram will be sent to your primary doctor. Patients will also receive a summary letter of your exam from Wesley Medical Center in the mail.
To schedule your mammogram, call 316-962-7900.