Women's breasts are always changing. They change during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause. Along with these normal changes, problems can arise. It is important for women to be aware of any changes in their breasts. Tools such as self breast exams and screening mammograms can help detect breast cancer before it has progressed.
Getting an annual mammogram - at age 40 or sooner if you have a family history of breast or other cancers - is one of the only three defenses women have against breast cancer today. Regular breast self exams and an annual clinical exam performed by your doctor also aid in early detection.
Virginia Women's Center makes this easy by offering annual screening mammograms at three of our locations: John Rolfe Commons, Mechanicsville and Henrico Doctors'.
Our facilities are digital screening sites. A screening mammogram is used to look for any abnormalities. It is performed for women who:
- Do not have implants
- Have never had breast cancer
- Do not have symptoms of breast problems, e.g. lumps (breast pain is okay)
- Are not having a follow-up of a recent abnormal mammogram
If these characteristics apply, you may not be eligible for a screening mammogram and should discuss your mammogram with your physician as soon as possible. Please note, your insurance may provide different coverage for a screening mammogram than a diagnostic mammogram.
Our equipment, Siemens Novation DR, offers high-resolution digital images, which allows for imaging breasts of varying sizes. The digital acquisition also allows for fewer repeat mammograms and a lower radiation dose to the patient than film mammography. With the digital format, we utilize computer assisted detection (CAD), which surveys each mammogram for suspicious lesions, another interpretive component.
All films will be read by The Ellen Shaw de Paredes Institute for Women’s Imaging, an internationally-known and well-respected radiology specialty practice. Dr. Paredes can also collaborate on patient care issues, when needed. Your mammogram will always be performed by a registered mammography technologist.
If you have never had a mammogram, click here for a link to the FDA site to find out what to expect.