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 the early detection of breast cancer, 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 breast cancer screenings and mammograms are so important—especially as a woman ages.
A mammogram is a special kind of X-ray designed specifically for the breast. Mammograms allow your doctor to more closely examine the breasts 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-breast exam. Mammography is the best screening tool that doctors have for finding breast cancer.
Learn more about mammograms in the videos below:
Screening Mammography looks for signs of breast cancer. A screening mammogram 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. A diagnostic mammogram is appropriate for a man or woman with signs and symptoms of breast disease, or for example, a personal history of breast cancer. A diagnostic mammogram is typically 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 2D digital mammography, especially for women with dense breast tissue. As with all mammograms, patients must first see their physician, who will order a screening or diagnostic mammogram. 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 2D mammography alone. Breast Tomosynthesis 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.
In addition, the American Cancer Society’s screening guidelines recommend annual mammograms for women 40 and older. One of the most important screening tools for the early detection of breast cancer, a mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast.
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 for screening-mammograms 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 Harbor Hospital: 410-350-7191; Espanol, 410-350-2066
• MedStar Union Memorial Hospital: 410-554-4309