Screening Mammography Specialist

Surgical Care of the Virginias

Frederick W. Barker, MD FACS

Breast and General Surgeon located in Bluefield, VA

When it comes to safeguarding your health, yearly screening mammograms are one of the most cost effective options available for women 40 and older. At Surgical Care of the Virginias’ MammoCare, Frederick Barker, MD, understands the importance of preventive cancer screenings. That’s why he offers 3D mammography at his practice. MammoCare offers women in the Bluefield area the most up-to-date technology, image interpretation by specialists, and affordable prices. If you shop and compare, we’re confident you’ll choose Mammocare for your next screening mammogram. To learn more, call or use the online scheduling tool.

Screening Mammography Q & A

What is a screening mammogram?

A mammogram is a specialized X-ray that Dr. Barker uses to spot abnormalities in a woman’s breast tissue even before they can be detected on physical exam. A screening mammogram is performed as part of a health maintenance exam as opposed to a diagnostic mammogram, which is used to evaluate a suspected breast problem. 

At MammoCare, Dr. Barker is equipped with the Hologic® Genius™ system, and the images are double-read by Dr. Barker and Dr. Esther Lee, a breast radiologist. Dr. Barker also routinely requests prior mammograms for comparison, from the facility you’ve used for mammograms in the past.

MammoCare was the first facility in the region (by more than a year) to offer 3D mammography, and it’s the only area facility to have a breast radiologist who specializes exclusively in breast imaging. Watch this short video to better understand the advantages of 3D mammography.

Why should I have a mammogram?

An annual mammography screening is one of the most cost-effective interventions for women over 40 years of age. If you consider that 1 in 8 women in the United States develops breast cancer at some time in her life, you begin to see the importance of a mammogram, which can often detect cancer years before you show any noticeable signs of the disease. 

Quite simply: SCREENING MAMMOGRAPHY SAVES LIVES! This important tool reduces costs and suffering for those women diagnosed with breast cancer. By detecting the cancer long before it’s identified in a physical exam, Dr. Barkers is much more likely to recommend less disfiguring treatment options. 

Consider this: the average size of breast cancer discovered by a woman or her doctor during a physical exam is 22 millimeters — about the size of a nickel. 

Through mammography, Dr. Barker is able to spot the disease when it’s much smaller. This is important because a significant improvement in survival rates have been demonstrated when breast cancer is found before it’s grown larger than 14 millimeters — about the size of a dime. 

Most importantly, this survival advantage holds true no matter what treatment or combination of treatments are used.

How often should I have a mammogram?

There’s no single right answer to this question; it depends upon your unique situation. Although different organizations have proposed different and conflicting guidelines, Dr. Barker advocates that women 40 and older, of average risk, be screened with 3D mammography yearly.

A woman’s risk of developing breast cancer increases as she ages. This short video highlights why Dr. Barker and most breast care specialists believe women 40 and older deserve screening mammograms.

Again, it’s important to understand that no two cases are alike. There are some circumstances where Dr. Barker may want you to have a mammogram earlier or more often, including:

  • Previous breast cancer
  • Abnormal test results
  • A family history of breast cancer
  • The presence of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation

Dr. Barker’s goal is to protect your health, and currently, yearly screening mammograms for women 40 and older is the most effective strategy for improving a woman’s odds against an all too common, deadly disease.

Do mammograms hurt?

Mammograms don’t hurt, but you may feel some slight discomfort during the procedure. To get optimal pictures of your breast tissue, the technician needs to flatten your breast. This may cause some temporary discomfort, but it lasts only a few seconds.

Ultimately, a mammogram is an incredibly simple tool that saves lives, making it well worth momentary inconvenience.

Dr. Barker accepts most insurance plans, including Medicare, Medicaid, Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program of West Virginia, and Every Woman's Life of Virginia. Affordable payment plans are also available to women who otherwise may not be covered. 

To get started on your screening through mammograms, call Dr. Barker or use the online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.