The American Cancer Society’s screening guidelines recommend annual mammograms for women 40 and older.
While much is being done to find ways to prevent breast cancer, it still affects one out every eight women. But, thanks to improvements in early detection, there are now millions of women who can call themselves breast cancer survivors.
When breast cancer is found early, many women go on to live long and healthy lives. That’s why screenings are so important—especially as a woman ages.
A mammogram is a special kind of X-ray designed specifically for the breast. This test allows your doctor to more closely examine for changes in breast tissue. These tests can show small lumps or abnormalities that may not be detectable by means of a clinical or self-exam. It is the best screening tool that doctors have for finding breast cancer.
We offer traditional mammograms as well as 3-D mammography, also known as digital breast tomosynthesis. A revolutionary new screening and diagnostic breast imaging tool, 3-D mammography is different from traditional mammography in that it takes multiple images of breast tissue versus a single image. This provides a clearer image of breast masses, particularly in women with dense breast tissue, making it easier to detect cancer.
Screening Mammography looks for signs of breast cancer. This type of screening is appropriate for a woman without signs or symptoms of breast disease, and is recommended for the purpose of early detection of breast cancer.
Diagnostic mammography investigates possible problems. It is appropriate for a man or woman with signs and symptoms of breast disease, or for example, a personal history of breast cancer. It typically requires a longer appointment than a screening mammogram and includes a physician's interpretation of the results at the conclusion.
Breast Tomosynthesis (3D Mammography) helps detect cancers earlier and more effectively than traditional screening, especially for women with dense tissue. As experts in breast imaging, MedStar Health Cancer Network Radiologists will review each patient’s order to properly tailor their examination and provide individualized patient care.
Breast Tomosynthesis (3D Mammography) is an FDA-approved imaging modality. Recent trials have shown Tomosynthesis to be a more accurate method for detecting early breast cancers compared to traditional screening alone. This screening captures 15 digital “projection” images as it arcs over the breast, during a short four-second scan. These images are then digitally reconstructed into a series of high-resolution one millimeter slices that can be reviewed individually or played back in a cine loop.
Click here for the most frequently asked questions about mammograms.
Screening is Key—Schedule Your Mammogram
All women should have a regular checkup that includes a clinical breast exam—an exam by a health care professional. This can help you better understand your breast health: what’s normal and what isn’t; breast cancer risk factors; and the importance of bringing any changes to a doctor’s attention quickly.
Regular mammograms are the best tests doctors have to find breast cancer early—sometimes up to three years before it can be felt. If breast cancer is found early with a mammogram, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent.
The MedStar Health Cancer Network offers mammograms at four convenient locations in the Baltimore region. We also offer next-day appointments, should you need it, Monday through Saturday. Please call 1-877-715-HOPE for more information.
Some women – because of their family history, a genetic mutation, or certain other factors – should be screened earlier, more frequently or with additional tests. If you think you may fall into this category, talk with your health care provider for recommendations. You can also call MedStar Health’s certified genetic counselor, Emily Kuchinsky, MS, CGC, at 443-777-7656 to arrange for a free consultation.
Screenings for Eligible Baltimore City Residents
- Resident of Baltimore City
- Age 40 and older
- Uninsured or with limited insurance
- Living on a limited income
For more information or to schedule an appointment:
- MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital 443-444-4673
- MedStar Harbor Hospital: 410-350-7191; Espanol, 410-350-2066
- MedStar Union Memorial Hospital: 410-554-4309