Many women wonder about screening tools for breast cancer. The first line of breast cancer screening is a patient’s own awareness. Patients are encouraged to complete monthly self-breast examinations and be aware of any skin changes, new lumps, masses, or nipple discharge. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), “Breast cancer often is found by a woman herself. This happens in almost one half of all cases of breast cancer in women aged 50 years and older. In women younger than 50 years, more than 70% of cases of breast cancer are found by the women themselves.” (www.acog.org)
Women are also encouraged to see their provider for a yearly clinical breast examination. During a clinical breast examination, the provider will check the breast for any changes to the skin or nipples. The provider will also feel for any tissue changes in the breast tissue or in the axilla (arm pit area).
Mammography uses X-ray imaging to view the tissues of the breast and is the primary screening tool for breast cancer. Mammography can also help diagnose problems in the breast that are not related to cancer. In women with no risk factors for breast cancer, screening mammograms should be done yearly starting at age 40. These yearly screenings should continue until the age of 75 years. Mammography is performed and read by a Radiologist at the hospital, and the report is sent to the doctor for review with the patient.
As October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is the perfect time to schedule your yearly mammogram! For most patients, yearly screening mammograms are covered 100% by regular commercial insurances. For those patients who are self-pay (patients with no insurance) or patients who are under insured, Medical Center Hospital Breast Care Center offers screening mammograms for $99 during the month of October.
Call ProCare Women’s Clinic today for your breast examination and to get your mammogram ordered at 432-640-2491!