Everyone knows or has known someone with breast cancer – after all, it is the second leading cause of cancer death in women and is a disease that affects one in eight women in their lifetime. But, many people assume that if they don’t have a family history of breast cancer that they are not at risk. In fact, the two most common risk factors for breast cancer are 1) being a woman and 2) getting older. That’s why early detection through breast cancer screenings is key.
What is a mammogram and when do I need to have one?
A mammogram is simply a low-dose x-ray of the breast tissue that helps screen for and detect the presence of cancer and it SAVES LIVES! Our goal is to ensure that women get their mammograms every year starting at age 40 (or earlier in some cases) and to catch suspicious areas BEFORE they can be felt during your regular annual exam.
At Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center we offer digital mammography with additional computer aided detection (CAD). During your exam we will also calculate your lifetime risk of breast cancer using one of the most accepted current risk assessment models and determine whether you qualify for additional screening studies such as breast MRI.
What to expect during a mammogram
- If you have sensitive breasts, schedule your exam during a time you expect your breasts to be least tender
- The exam will take anywhere from 10-30 minutes
- Wear an outfit that allows you to remove only the top
- Avoid lotion, deodorant and powder on your underarms and breasts (they can interfere with the reading)
- You may feel a little pressure during the procedure but otherwise it is painless
The staff at SRMC will guide you through the entire process, assist in obtaining outside prior studies, discuss results and, if need be, schedule follow-up appointments for further exams or evaluations. For those in need of additional diagnostic studies, we offer a full range of advanced imaging services, including ultrasound, stereotactic guided biopsies and breast MRI. Our nurse navigator works with you every step of the way, answering questions and providing support through it all.