Why Mammograms Are Important
One of the greatest benefits to getting a Mammogram is that it increases the chances of catching breast cancer at the early stages when it is most treatable.
The 5-year survival rate for women with stages 0 or I breast cancer is 99%, although most women live far longer. Once breast cancer moves to stage II, the survival rate drops to 93%, and at stage III down to 72% .
An annual Mammogram can aid in catching a tumor before it advances to stage II or III.
Early detection is key, which is why you should supplement your annual Mammogram with a monthly self examination. Any changes in your breast should be looked at as soon as possible by a breast care professional to rule out cancer. The National Breast Cancer Foundation has a wonderful page dedicated to teaching women how to perform a self examination.
Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer
One of the most common signs of breast cancer is a lump or mass in the breast. Even if you find a lump that isn’t painful it is important to have it evaluated.
Things to look for while doing your self examination
- Sores on the breast
- Pain in the breast or nipple
- Inverted nipple
- Changes on the surface of the nipple such as puckered, scaly, or dimpled skin
- Bloody or clear discharge from the nipple
What to Expect at your Appointment
There are two types of mammograms, screening and diagnostic. A screening mammogram is the typical mammogram appointment that is done annually. The Radiologist will be looking for an abnormalities in the image, and possibly comparing it against previous images.
A diagnostic mammogram is a more thorough test done when symptoms of breast cancer are present or a change has been seen from a previous screening mammogram. This test is performed if you get a call back from your radiologist.
- You’ll have to undress above the waist to get a mammogram. The facility will give you a wrap to wear.
- A technologist will position your breasts for the mammogram. You and the technologist are the only ones in the room during the mammogram.
- To get a high-quality picture, your breast must be flattened. The technologist places your breast on the machine’s plate.
- The plastic upper plate is lowered to compress your breast for a few seconds while the technologist takes a picture.
- The whole procedure takes about 20 minutes. The actual breast compression only lasts a few seconds.
- You might feel some discomfort when your breasts are compressed, and for some women it can be painful. Tell the technologist if it hurts.
- Two views of each breast are taken for a screening mammogram. But for some women, such as those with breast implants or large breasts, more pictures may be needed.
- More pictures are taken during a diagnostic mammogram with a focus on the area that looked different on the screening mammogram.
- During a diagnostic mammogram, the images are checked by the radiologist while you’re there so that more pictures can be taken if needed to look more closely at any area of concern.
- In some cases, special images known as spot views or magnification views are used to make a small area of concern easier to see.
Why have your Mammogram Read by us?
Based on the yearly national average provided by the American College of Radiology, out of every 1,000 women who are screened…
Will be called back for additional Diagnostic Imaging due to a suspicious area seen in the initial test
Will be told there is nothing to worry about
Will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer
A call back can cost up to $1,600
At Winchester Radiologists, we work with some of the best educated radiologists in the country, hailing from Harvard, Cornell, Yale, Georgetown, University of Virginia, and more. Their education and experience allows us to be better than the national average.
This means fewer callbacks, fewer false alarms, and higher rates of catching cancer.
The following statistics are based off every 1,000 women who were screened at the Valley Health Breast Center in 2017.
Dr. Joseph Poe
Dr. Blake Watts
Dr. Christopher Nieman