Lincoln Hospital promotes the Three Steps to Breast Health plan.
- Monthly breast self-exams
- Annual professional exam
- Regular mammograms
Because mammography is able to find such small tumors, this practice can catch lumps long before manual exams or symptoms begin. Catching cancer early increases chances of positive treatment.
Mammography has an overall accuracy rate of 90 percent and is highly regulated for image quality. Mammography technologists are required to have extensive specialized training. They also must read a minimum number of films each year to keep their qualifications. Lincoln Hospital and its technologists are approved by the FDA for quality mammograms. Lincoln Hospital uses a state-of-the-art LoRad (low radiation) Mammography machine which provides your physician with crisp, clear images for highly accurate readings.
Putting something off?
Women make many excuses to put off having a mammogram. Lack of family risk factors, fear of mammography, pain and fear of a positive finding are the most common. The FDA says most positive findings are not cancer, but benign tumors. Special tests such as biopsies are used to discern whether a lump is cancerous. Delaying the diagnosis of breast cancer does not change the diagnosis, it only increases your risk of a worse outcome — even death.
Risk Factors include
- Geographical Variation (Lincoln County statistics are high for breast cancer)
- Age at Menarche and Menopause
- Age at first pregnancy
- Family History
Who needs one?
All women should get a mammogram by age 40 to establish a “baseline.” This “baseline” mammogram should be followed up every one to two years until age 49. At age 50, the American Cancer Society recommends annual exams. Younger women who have a high incidence of breast cancer in their family should set up a personal mammography/exam regimen with their doctor. If all women followed these guidelines, the death rate from breast cancer could be reduced by 30 percent — that’s 13,000 lives each year.
What can I expect?
A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray of the breast. The breast is placed on a device that flattens it, spreading the breast out so the x-rays can produce a precise image. The technologists at Lincoln Hospital work with each patient to find a comfortable angle and compression while maintaining highest quality images.
Typically, the technologist will take two views of each breast, one from above and one from the side. The entire procedure takes about 20 minutes. Films taken at Lincoln Hospital are read immediately by the region’s top radiologists.
If the radiologist decides further pictures are needed, don’t panic. The vast majority of lumps found are not cancerous, but it is important to find those that are, so treatment can begin.