For Your Health
The only thing worse than finding out you have breast cancer is finding out too late. If you’re a woman, you’re at risk.
Women give plenty of reasons for not getting a mammogram: It’s too painful. My insurance won’t cover it. I’m not old enough. I don’t have time. Yet there’s one really good reason to get one: It could save your life.
“Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women, and a mammogram is the best way to detect cancer early,” says Nayana Dekhne, M.D., director of the Comprehensive Breast Program at Beaumont Hospitals. “The American Cancer Society recommends that women over age 40 have a screening mammogram every year for as long as they are in good health.”
So what’s stopping you from making your appointment?
- It’s too painful
You will feel some pressure as the mammogram is performed, but any discomfort will only last a few seconds. Because breasts are more sensitive just before your menstrual period, you should try to schedule your mammogram seven to 10 days after the start of your period.
- I can’t afford it
Routine mammograms in women over age 40 are considered preventive care and are covered by most insurance companies. If you have Medicare, Medicare will help pay for a mammogram once a year. There are also state and federal programs to help women pay for a mammogram every year. You can call the American Cancer Society toll-free, 1-800-ACS-2345, for more information.
- I’m not at risk for breast cancer
“If you’re a woman, you’re at risk for breast cancer,” says Dr. Dekhne. “Almost 70 percent of women with breast cancer have no known risk factors.”
- There are so many places to get a mammogram, I don’t know where to go.
By doing a little research and asking the right questions, you can ensure you’re receiving a high-quality mammogram. The American Cancer Societyrecommends that you:
- Ask to see the FDA certificate that is issued at the center. The FDA requires that all facilities meet high professional standards of safety and quality.
- Use a facility that specializes in mammograms and does many mammograms a day.
- If you are satisfied with the quality, go to the same facility on a regular basis so your mammograms can be compared from year to year.
- It’s not safe to be exposed to radiation
With modern mammography machines, the high-quality images produce a low amount of radiation. “Strict guidelines are in place to ensure that the equipment uses the lowest dose of radiation possible,” says Dr. Dekhne. “The doses are very small and tightly regulated by the FDA.” Keep track of your lifetime radiation exposure: Download a radiation tracking wallet card today.
Should I get a digital mammogram or is film fine?
Findings from a 2005 national research study conducted at Beaumont showed that digital mammograms are more effective in detecting breast cancer than standard film mammograms for some women. The groups benefiting the most include pre- and peri-menopausal women, younger than 50 with very dense breasts.
Should I get a breast MRI?
If you’re at high risk for breast cancer, your physician may recommend a breast MRI in addition to a screening mammogram. Not every imaging center offers breast MRI, and the American Cancer Society recommends choosing a facility that also offers MRI-guided breast biopsy to avoid having the test repeated when the biopsy is done. You can schedule an appointment for a breast MRI at Beaumont Hospitals by calling Beaumont’s Appointment Center, 800-328- 8542.
High-risk Breast Program
Beaumont’s high-risk breast program offers leading edge care for patients
Studies have shown that for some women at high risk, breast cancer can actually be prevented. And when prevention isn’t possible, early detection means survival rates increase up to 95 percent.
“At Beaumont, high-risk patients have the most innovative medical options available anywhere,” says Nayana Dekhne, M.D., from Beaumont’s Comprehensive Breast Care Center. “With our High Risk Breast Program, a multi-disciplinary team of highly trained and specialized physicians offers women access to the latest surgical and medical treatment, including clinical trials.”
Preventing breast cancer begins by assessing your risk. If you have certain risk factors, a detailed assessment and additional testing may be necessary, including genetic counseling or possibly a breast MRI.
For an appointment with a genetic counselor, call Beaumont’s Cancer Genetics Program, 248-551-3388. To find out more about the Beaumont High Risk Breast Program, call for a consultation: 877-447-4751.
Beaumont's Comprehensive Breast Care Program includes:
- Beaumont Infusion Centers
- Breast Wellness Clinic - providing long-term follow-up care for breast cancer survivors
- Community Clinical Oncology Program - Offering patients access to groundbreaking research trials and treatments
- Compassion - Our network of diagnosis, treatment, support, technology and research staff unites in an environment of compassion and concern
- High-risk Evaluation Clinic - Designed to meet the needs of high-risk breast cancer patients
- Lymphedema Clinic
- Supportive counseling for newly diagnosed patients and survivors
- Cancer Resource Centers
- Sharing & Caring
- Vattikuti Digital Breast Diagnostic Center
Did You Know...?
Beaumont Hospitals provides breast screening and diagnostic services to more than 100,000 women each year, making it one of the largest screening and diagnostic programs in the nation. To make an appointment at a location convenient for you, schedule one today online, or call Beaumont’s Appointment Center, 800-328-8542.
Learn more about breast cancer prevention and diagnosis: