During a time when we’ve been pulled in many directions — from setting up home offices to homeschooling our children — it's understandable that to-dos like wellness exams and imaging tests have taken a backseat. But now that we’re settling into a new normal, it’s time to make health care a priority again, and we’re taking extra steps to ensure you can do so safely.
Part of the health care that it’s necessary to get back on track with is important screenings. Because breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women in the U.S., having your annual mammogram could quite literally save your life.
Why You Should Get Your Mammogram Each Year
Annual mammograms are still the top-recommended screening for women because it allows the earliest possible detection of issues before you experience symptoms. Catching breast cancer early means:
Therapies like breast conservation therapy will be most effective
Treatment can begin early, possibly before the cancer spreads to other parts of your body
You’ll have the best possible chance for recovery
If you’re between ages 20 and 40, you should have a clinical breast exam by your doctor every three years. If you’re 40 or older, an annual screening mammogram could be the choice recommended by your doctor. If you’re not sure when to begin annual screening mammograms, talk to your trusted doctor to develop a customized screening plan for you.
It’s also helpful to understand breast cancer risks, including:
Density of breast tissue
Family history of breast cancer
First menstrual period before age 12
Genetic mutations BRCA1 and BRCA2
History of fibroids or other benign breast conditions
Race and ethnicity
We’re Taking Extra Steps for Safety at Your Mammogram Appointment
Breast cancer screening at AdventHealth is focused on one thing: protecting your whole health. And with the current circumstances, that means taking extra safety measures for your protection and peace of mind.
Temperature Checks at All Facility Entrances
Everyone who steps foot through our doors will have their temperature checked. This happens for the protection of all of our patients and staff.
Separate Care Areas for People Who Are Sick
Above all else, we want our patients to feel protected. Each person will be carefully evaluated upon arrival. Patients with concerning symptoms will be treated in a separate area, away from other patients, and treated with the utmost care.
Universal Mask Use
Our universal mask policy means everyone must wear a mask inside our facilities — team members, clinicians, patients and visitors. We provide both our employees and our patients with masks as they enter our facilities.
Social Distancing Measures in Waiting Areas
We’ve redesigned our waiting areas and lines to accommodate at least 6 feet of social distancing space in between our patients.
Understanding the Different Types of Mammograms
Mammography uses X-rays to take a picture of your breast. Screening mammograms and diagnostic mammograms use the same equipment and procedures. The difference is in the number of images made.
Screening mammograms are for women who have no signs of breast cancer such as a lump, pain or nipple discharge. It takes fewer images in less time, and you’ll receive less radiation.
Diagnostic mammograms take more images from different angles to help doctors make the most accurate diagnosis. But because it makes more images, you get more radiation. However, all modern digital mammography equipment uses low doses of radiation, and the latest 3D mammography systems need even less.
Screening if You’re at High-Risk for Breast Cancer
If you’re at increased risk for breast cancer, you may have additional screenings that include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound. Although these can be combined with a mammogram, they are not a replacement.
Instead of X-rays, MRI uses a magnetic field to make images. Although MRI can find breast cancers mammography misses, it doesn’t find all breast cancers. This scan is effective for women whose health history includes:
BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation
Immediate family member — mother, sister, child — with BRCA1/2
Radiation treatment to the chest between ages 10 and 30
This exam uses sound waves to make an image. Women can benefit from ultrasound if they:
Are at very high risk for breast cancer
Can’t have an MRI or be exposed to X-rays
Ultrasound is also better at finding breast cancers in women who have dense breast tissue, which is more difficult to diagnose using mammography.
We’re Ready When You’re Ready
We’re here to care for you safely at every in-person appointment, including mammograms. If you’ve put off getting this potentially life-saving screening, don’t delay it any longer. Schedule your mammogram today.