By Jenna Lacey RT(R)(M), ARRT
October in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
Chances are you know someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer because one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women.
As with any disease, it’s always important to know your risk factors.
Simply being a woman and aging are your 2 main risk factors – We can’t control either.
Women often come in for mammograms and ask “How much longer do I have to do this?”
Well, forever. As you age, your risk increases. There are women well into their 90’s having yearly mammograms.
Knowing your family history of breast cancer is important too, but not as important as most people think.
Breast cancer occurs in about 85% of women who have NO family history of the disease.
Just because Grandma Sue and Momma June didn’t have breast cancer, doesn’t make you immune.
If you’ve never had a mammogram before and are age 40 and older, the American Cancer Society recommends you begin having yearly screening mammograms.
For those of you who have never had a mammogram, a mammogram is a specialized x-ray of the breast.
Each breast is imaged in two views and special care is taken to minimize the time spent in compression.
Mammograms are able to detect lumps in the breast long before they can be felt – up to two years.
The radiation exposure is minimal, even less than a standard chest x-ray. It is a fast procedure (about 20 minutes) and the discomfort is minimal for most women.
On the day of your appointment, do not use any deodorant, antiperspirant, lotion or powder, since these things can show up on the images and interfere with the test results.
The results of your mammogram will be sent to your referring doctor and a copy will also be mailed to you.
The results are often ready within 24-48 hours. In mammography, it is important to compare the new to the old, so if you’ve had a mammogram at another facility, bring copies of those films with you to your appointment; this will aid the radiologist in detecting the slightest changes within the breast tissue. Screening mammograms are for those patients who are not having any breast symptoms. Riverview does not require you to have a doctor’s order to perform your yearly screening mammogram. If you feel a lump, bump or pain in the breast, or any other breast problem, schedule an appointment with your doctor right away. As women and healthcare workers, we need to encourage our family, friends and co-workers to be proactive in their healthcare. We can have the best digital mammogram equipment around, but if you’re not screened, it doesn’t matter. We can’t find things we haven’t looked for.
So spread the word, Operation: Healthy Hooters is in full swing at Riverview!
To celebrate, through the month of October, Riverview will offer mammograms for $80 at our Imaging Center located at 1423 Rainbow Drive. To schedule your appointment, call (256) 543-5815.