Centra's Mammography Services For Early Detection And Diagnosis Of Breast Cancer. Call 434.200.4048 to schedule an appointment for mammography or click here to request an appointment via the internet.
Early Detection Is Key To Survival
One of every eight American women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. There is no known prevention of breast cancer, but if it is found early and treated, there is a good chance of a complete cure. That's why it's so important for all women to commit to three breast cancer detection practices:
Monthly Breast Self Exam (BSE). You are in the best position to detect a lump or other changes in your breasts. It is best to perform BSE every month, 10–14 days after your period. If you're menopausal, choose a day you'll remember each month.
Annual Clinical Exam. A breast exam, pap test and pelvic exam should be a part of a yearly visit to your health care provider.
Regular Mammograms. A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray of the breast that detects 90 percent of all breast cancers, usually well before a lump can be felt. It is widely recognized as the best diagnostic tool in detecting breast cancer. There are two general types of mammography: screening and diagnostic. Screening exams are for women without any symptoms of breast problems, and are performed at The Mammography Centers.
Diagnostic mammography is for women with symptoms of breast problems. It is also used to further investigate abnormal or suspicious screening mammograms. Diagnostic mammograms are performed at Virginia Baptist Hospital.
The Mammography Center
Centra's Mammography Centers offer women a program of low cost screening mammography. The center serves women in the Lynchburg region who have no known breast problems.
Screening mammography should begin in the mid-thirties for most women. Those with a strong family history may start at age 30. Mammograms are recommended annually for all women after age 40.
The Safety of Mammography
Mammography is a low-dose x-ray of the breast that has been proven to be the safest and most effective way of finding breast cancer in its earliest – and most treatable – stages. Mammography can often detect a lump long before it can be felt through physical examination.
The equipment used in our facilities exposes you to about as little radiation as a dental x-ray.
Preparing For Your Mammogram
Avoid scheduling your mammogram during the week prior to your menstrual period to avoid any breast swelling and tenderness that may occur just before your period. Plan to bring previous mammograms if performed elsewhere. If you are unable to bring films, please arrange to have the actual films sent to us.
Ten days prior to your exam, abstain from caffeine as it has a tendency to make breasts more tender and lumpy. Decaffeinated coffee, tea and caffeine-free soft drinks can be substituted. Avoid taking medications that contain caffeine, such as some over-the-counter pain relievers, diet aids, cough and cold medications or reviving aids. Check with your physician on prescription medications.
On The Day Of Your Exam
Wear a blouse or sweater rather than a dress to make it easier to undress. You will be given a gown to wear. Do not use any deodorant, powder, perfume, creams or lotions in your underarm or breast area because they leave a residue that may be picked up on the x-ray and possibly interfere with the mammogram results.
Advantages of Digital Mammography
Compared to the older analog (film) methods, digital mammograms offer advantages for detecting breast cancer, especially in women younger than 50, women who are perimenopausal, or have dense breast tissue. Digital images are sent to a computer instead of film and are easily stored and retrieved. The technologist has the ability to review images immediately to determine quality so patients spend less time in the exam room. The radiologist can magnify the images and change contrast or brightness providing more information for diagnosis. With digital there is also better visibility at the skin line. Computer aided technology(CAD ) is built right in. CAD flags abnormalities and is, in essence, a second set of eyes to the radiologist.
The Mammography Examination
The entire process for a mammography examination takes about half an hour and is performed by a female radiologic technologist. During the procedure, your breast will be placed on a ledge that will be adjusted to your height. Your breast will be gently compressed so that all the tissue can be seen. Compression may be uncomfortable for some women, but it is essential in order to get an accurate x-ray. Compression is not harmful and will not damage breast tissue. Two projections are taken of each breast: one from the top and another from the side. Each exposure takes only a few seconds.
After Your Mammogram
A radiologist studies the mammogram, and within a few days sends a report to your primary care physician. Women who have normal mammograms also are notified by mail. Approximately 85 to 90 percent of the exams fall in the normal category. Less than one percent of the exams are suspicious for cancer. This leaves approximately 10 to 15 percent of the exams, which are abnormal, but of very low suspicion of cancer.
If Your Mammogram Is Normal
A report will be sent to your doctor with the radiologist's interpretation of the mammogram as well as a recommendation for follow-up mammograms based on your age, past history and the findings on your mammogram.
If Your Mammogram Is Highly Suspicious For Cancer
A report will be sent to your doctor along with recommendation for possible biopsy or surgical consultation. Fortunately, this is uncommon.
If Your Mammogram Is "Abnormal" But Low Suspicion
For approximately 10 to 15 percent of women, further evaluation is necessary. This may include additional diagnostic mammograms under the direction of a radiologist. These allow any questionable areas to be more fully evaluated. Ultrasound of the breast (a painless procedure) may be used to tell if a mass seen on a mammography is solid or liquid-filled (cystic). A cyst is rarely cancerous.
For many women, the time between receiving a notification of an abnormal mammogram and subsequent diagnosis is stressful. Fortunately, less than one out of 20 of these abnormal mammograms ultimately turn out to require surgical biopsy. Of those that do need biopsy, only one out of four is cancerous.
Office Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Alternate Saturdays as needed from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information call 434.200.4048.
Be Aware of Your Risk for Breast Cancer
- Two-thirds of all breast cancer patients are over age 50
- Family history
- Starting your period before age 12
- Never having given birth, or delaying childbirth until after 30
- Starting menopause after age 55
However, most women diagnosed with breast cancer have none of these risk factors, so it is critical that all women be vigilant and dedicated to early detection practices.
Be Aware of the Signs of Breast Cancer
- A lump or thickening in the breast
- Puckering or dimpling of the breast
- Discharge or bleeding from the nipple
- Change in the shape or size of the breast
- Enlargement of the lymph nodes and increased swelling of the underarm
If you notice any of these signs, contact your physician immediately.