The Difficult Case by Nathan Greene
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When it comes to safeguarding your health, for women over 40, annual screening mammography is perhaps the most cost effective intervention you could find. Here’s why: SCREENING MAMMOGRAPHY SAVES LIVES! At the same time, screening mammography reduces cost and suffering for those women diagnosed with breast cancer when their cancer is detected before it grows large enough to be identified on a physical exam.

Here’s why this matters:

The average size of breast cancer discovered by a woman or her doctor by physical exam is 22 mm., about the size of a nickel. A significant improvement in survival is found when women’s breast cancers are found and removed before they grow larger than 14 mm, about the size of a dime. This survival advantage holds true no matter what treatment or combination of treatments are used.

At MammoCare we have the best equipment. Mammograms are double read by Dr. Barker and a breast radiologist who specializes exclusively in breast imaging. Prior mammograms are routinely requested for comparison. We accept 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 available to women who otherwise may not be covered. We’re confident, if you shop and compare, you’ll choose MammoCare for your annual screening mammogram.

Screening Mammography Q & A

What is a screening mammogram?

A mammogram is a specialized X-ray used 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. Watch this short video to learn why this system is so good.

Why and when should I have one?

We believe women 40 and older should start having screening mammograms. 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. An annual mammography screening is one of the most cost-effective interventions for women over 40 years of age. Quite simply: SCREENING MAMMOGRAPHY SAVES LIVES!

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.

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

  • Personal history of breast cancer
  • A strong family history of breast cancer
  • The presence of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation

It’s important to realize that a diagnostic mammogram, as opposed to a screening mammogram, may be appropriate whenever a significant breast problem is being evaluated.

Do mammograms hurt?

Mammograms shouldn’t hurt, but can be a bit uncomfortable. To get optimal pictures of your breast tissue, the technician needs to flatten your breast. This may cause some temporary discomfort, which can be minimized by letting the mammo tech know if the breast compression is getting too uncomfortable. If your breasts are very tender, for example right before your period, you may wish to reschedule your screening exam.

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 schedule your next screening mammogram at MammoCare use the online scheduling.