The importance of regular mammograms
When it comes to diagnosing breast cancer, time is of the essence.
That’s why Wellstar uses state-of-the-art imaging technology to help identify cancer sooner, so we can treat it faster. Getting a screening mammogram can save your life, so don’t delay.
With 14 imaging centers offering mammography, it's easy to find one that's convenient to you.
Who should get screened?
If you do not have any risk factors that increase your chance of developing breast cancer, you should start annual screening mammograms at age 40.
If you’re at higher risk for breast cancer, your provider may recommend you start screenings earlier and can help you create a personalized plan.
“Being female at birth gives you a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer, but there are other components that can increase that risk,” Dr. Wachsmuth said.
You may be at higher risk of developing breast cancer if:
- You have a family history of breast cancer. If any of your relatives have had breast cancer, talk to your provider about starting screenings earlier. Find out how old your relatives were when they were diagnosed with breast cancer and begin screenings when you are seven to 10 years younger than their age of diagnosis.
- You have had previous radiotherapy treatment in the chest area. Previous radiotherapy for other cancers or lymphomas can also raise the potential for breast cancer development.
- You have had breast cancer before. A previous breast cancer diagnosis often means a patient is more likely to develop breast cancer again.
Wellstar offers several locations to get a mammogram. Call (678) 581-5900 to schedule yours. You can also ask your Wellstar provider to put your mammogram order in MyChart and you'll be able to schedule the test online.
What should I expect when I get a mammogram?
A mammogram uses low dose X-rays to examine the breast for abnormalities and signs of cancer. Wellstar offers 3D mammograms, which provide a series of detailed images of the breast, allowing healthcare providers to better evaluate breast tissue layer by layer. In these images, fine details are more visible as compared to 2D mammograms and are no longer hidden by overlapping tissue.
The mammography unit is a rectangular box that houses the X-ray tubes and special accessories so that only the breasts are exposed to radiation. Attached to the unit is a device that holds and compresses the breast and positions it so images can be taken from several angles.
The technologist is with you throughout the procedure and will ensure that the necessary images have been taken before completing the exam.
Once you have completed a mammogram, you may resume your normal, everyday activities.
If your screening mammogram results are normal, your next mammogram will be the following year, unless your provider recommends more frequent screenings due to family history or other risk factors. Continue to perform breast self-exams monthly, and if you notice any changes such as a lump, sore spot or a difference in the appearance of the skin, contact your provider.
What if I receive abnormal screening mammogram results?
When a mammogram result is flagged for follow-up care, it can be scary and intimidating for patients and their loved ones—but at Wellstar, you won’t have to navigate your health journey alone.
As you search for answers about your breast health, the Wellstar Comprehensive Breast Health Program and its complimentary concierge services will make your experience more seamless with a tailored care plan, advocacy for your physical and emotional well-being, dedicated team members for scheduling appointments and education about your care options. Our team of experts will stay by your side through the entire diagnostic process, offering personalized counsel at every step.
What are some symptoms of breast cancer?
In addition to yearly mammograms, conduct monthly breast self-exams to look for any changes you’ll need to discuss with your provider. Signs of breast cancer can include:
- Lump development in the breast or underarm
- Breast swelling or development of thickness
- Redness and/or skin flaking around the breast
- Discharge other than breast milk from the nipple
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast
- Pain in any area of the breast
If you notice any of these symptoms, reach out to your provider and schedule an appointment to evaluate your breast health.
Your Wellstar care team will support you at every step of your breast health journey, from screening mammograms to follow-up care.