Think Pink For Breast Cancer Awareness
Courtesy of Chico Breast Center
Are you a woman age 40 or over? If so, did you know that you should be having an annual screening mammogram? A woman’s chance of developing breast cancer in her lifetime is 1 in 8, with most breast cancers occurring in women over 40. The good news is that if found early, before it has spread, the 5-year survival rate is 98%. Thus, early detection is a key factor in being able to successfully treat, and ultimately survive, this dreaded disease.
Major health organizations including the American Cancer Society, the American Society of Breast Disease, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging agree that starting annual mammography at age 40 saves the most lives. If you have additional risk factors that may increase your chance of developing breast cancer, such as a strong family history, then you should discuss additional or alternate screening options with your healthcare provider.
Once you have made the wise decision to undergo screening mammography, you will need to decide where to have your mammogram performed, since not all breast care centers are created equal. Some questions to ask yourself or your provider:
• Does the breast care center use 3D Mammography, also known as Digital Tomosynthesis?
• How long until my mammogram is read by the radiologist and the report sent to my doctor?
• Is the breast care center also able to perform any follow-up exams or procedures that may be recommended?
• Is the breast care center accredited?
Having your mammogram done at a facility that offers the latest 3D technology can increase the chance that your cancer will be detected early while decreasing the chance that you will need to be called back for a follow-up exam due to a false-positive finding. Furthermore, having your study done at a center that offers fully comprehensive and integrated breast care services can help speed up the process if you do have to undergo additional studies or procedures, which may include diagnostic work-up with mammography and/or breast ultrasound, breast MRI, breast biopsy, and surgery. This type of full-spectrum integrated care is not only more convenient for the patient, but also allows for coordination of care and less chance of confusion between multiple providers and facilities. Additionally, a full-spectrum breast care center should also offer breast cancer risk assessment and nurse navigation assistance which can prove invaluable should you be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Lastly, make sure that the breast care center you choose is accredited by the American College of Radiology. This shows that the facility meets or exceeds quality assurance and safety guidelines and that its staff is licensed and well qualified to perform and interpret your exam.
Not all breast care centers provide this level of comprehensive integrated care, but finding one that does is worth the trouble because it can save you time, money, and maybe even your life!
The Chico Breast Care Center provides comprehensive integrated breast care, including 3D Mammography, to residents of the North State and is accredited by the American College of Radiology. Visit chicobreastcare.com or call 898-0502 to schedule an appointment.