On Oct. 20, join
Frederick Regional Health System as we celebrate National Mammography Day—a day to remind all women
that the best defense in the
fight against breast cancer is early detection.
Mammogram screening is an important step in taking care of yourself and your health.
This low-dose x-ray allows radiologists to look for abnormal breast tissue.
Mammograms can find breast cancer when it’s still too small to be
felt during a self-exam. Finding cancer at this early stage—when
it’s still small and hasn’t spread throughout the body—gives
doctors the best chances for treating it successfully.
American Cancer Society recommends that women at average risk should begin yearly mammograms starting
at age 40; women should begin yearly mammograms at 45, and they can switch
to every two years at 55. Most important, all women—no matter their
age—should let their doctor know if they experience any breast changes.
Whether you’re looking forward to your first mammogram or you’re
experienced with the process, knowing what to expect helps you to navigate
the exam more smoothly.
10 Things to Know About Mammograms
1. Mammography is the most powerful, effective breast cancer detection tool. Since 1990, mammography has helped to
reduce breast cancer mortality in the U.S. by nearly 40 percent. However, mammograms can still miss
up to 20 percent of breast cancers not visible using the technology. While other complementary
techniques—self-exams, clinical breast exams, ultrasounds, MRI,
etc.—can and should be used, there is no substitute for a mammogram
to detect breast cancer.
2. Mammograms do not prevent breast cancer. They only detect cancer that already exists. In most cases, breast cancers
have been present for years by the time they appear on mammograms.
3. Screening and diagnostic mammograms are different. A screening mammogram is routinely ordered annually for women with no current
breast issues; a diagnostic mammogram is ordered to evaluate specific
breast findings. This includes lumps, pain, discharge, skin changes, and
other possible abnormalities noted on a screening mammogram.
4. A mammogram uses a machine to look only at breast tissue. Because X-rays don’t go through tissue easily, the machine has two
plates that compress or flatten the breast to spread the tissue apart.
This gives a better picture of the tissue and allows less radiation to be used.
5. An unusual test result does not always equal breast cancer. Only about two to four screening mammograms of every 1,000 lead to a breast
cancer diagnosis. The American Cancer Society reports that
1 in 10 women who have a mammogram require more tests—only 8%- 10% of these women will need a biopsy, and about 80% will
turn out not to be cancer.
6. Mammograms are not scary. Mammography is a fast procedure—typically only 20 minutes—and
discomfort is minimal.
7. The benefits of mammography outweigh any possible harm from radiation exposure. On average, the
total dose for a typical mammogram with two views of each breast is only 0.4 mSv (a measure of radiation
dose)—for comparison, people in the U.S. are exposed to about 3
mSv of radiation, on average, just from their natural surroundings.
8. Even if you have no breast health concerns, you should still get regular
mammograms. As you get older, your chances of having breast cancer increase. Women
can get breast cancer even after menopause. Even if you have no changes,
lumps, or concerns with your breasts—and even if you have no history
of breast cancer in your family—you still need a mammogram.
9. Mammograms are affordable. Insurance plans governed by the Affordable Care Act cover screening mammography
as a preventive benefit every one to two years for women age 40 and over,
without copays, coinsurance, or deductibles. Medicare pays for annual
screening mammograms for all female beneficiaries 40 and older, and many
states require that Medicaid and public employee health plans cover screening
10. Opt for the best quality you can. A 3D mammogram, for example, is a new screening and diagnostic tool that
takes multiple images to produce a 3D image of the breast tissue. This
allows the radiologist reading and interpreting the mammogram to see more
detail than ever before. We are proud to offer digital 3D mammography
on site at our FMH Crestwood and FMH Rose Hill locations.
What to Know Before You Go
Before Your Exam
- Do not wear under-arm deodorant until after your mammogram. Many technologists,
including those at FRHS, can supply you with deodorant after the exam
if you wish.
- Schedule your mammogram thoughtfully. It’s best to schedule your
mammogram the week after your menstrual period. Make sure your breasts
aren’t tender or swollen on the day you schedule your mammogram.
This helps to reduce any discomfort and get a better picture at your breast tissue.
- Bring your past mammogram results with you and provide them to whoever
will be looking at your new results, especially if you’ve been to
the same imaging facility before.
- Wear a two-piece outfit so you can remove your top easily. The technologist
will give you a gown to wear during the exam.
During Your Exam
When arriving at an
FMH Imaging Services location, you’ll have the opportunity to take the Hughes/CRA Risk Assessment
while seated in a private environment.
- The technologist will ask you questions about your breast health and history.
- In order to obtain the best quality images, the mammography unit will compress
your breast. You may experience discomfort for a very short time. The
technologist will place a Mammo Pad on the machine to minimize any discomfort.
Typically, two images of each breast are taken in each routine exam.
- We offer the latest technology in breast imaging: 3D breast tomography.
This technology captures images of each breast in 1mm layers and enables
the radiologist to better detect tumors. If you want 3D tomography to
be included in your screening mammogram, contact your insurance carrier
to verify benefits prior to your exam.
After Your Exam
- A board-certified, on-site radiologist will interpret your exam, and printed
results will be sent to your ordering physician. Your radiologist will
determine if additional testing is needed, and if so, additional images
can be obtained the same day.
- An imaging navigator is available to assist you if a biopsy or other procedure
is needed. Imaging navigators can provide education, obtain personal and
family medical history, answer any questions, and provide assistance in
scheduling exams. If your genetic risk is high, the imaging navigator
is available to meet with you based on your provider preferences to discuss
the Screening and Prevention Program.
- When leaving, you’ll also receive a hard copy of your mammogram results,
your genetic risk score, and breast density notice (if you’ve been
identified to have dense breasts).
Ready to Schedule Your Appointment?
FMH Imaging Services is proud to be the only provider of same-day breast imaging services in
the Frederick community. Our patient-friendly workflow allows us to reduce
callbacks for additional images, ultimately reducing stress for patients
and the need for follow-up appointments.
The latest Hologic 3D mammography screening technologies are available
at both our
Rose Hill and
Crestwood facilities—we provide convenient access to FMH Imaging Services,
no matter where our patients live and work in Frederick County.
Our locations, hours of operation, and contact information are all available on our website.
Join us in the fight against breast cancer—schedule your mammogram
FMH Imaging Services at 240-566-3400 to make an appointment with the only comprehensive mammography
provider in Frederick.