What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is an X-ray from the side and top of the breast. Mammograms are an important tool in early detection of breast cancer because they can detect a lump three to five years before your doctor can feel it.
During a mammogram, your breasts are pressed between two pieces of plastic for a few seconds, while a minimal X-ray dose, similar to that of a dental X-ray, is applied.
Why might I need a mammogram?
All women share some risk of breast cancer. In the United States it is estimated that there will be nearly 213,000 new cases of female invasive breast cancer this year. Experts predict almost 41,000 deaths from the disease.
But the good news is that the number of women who obtain breast mammograms has doubled since National Breast Cancer Awareness Month began over twenty years ago, and now the death rates from breast cancer have declined, mostly due to earlier detection and improved treatment.
Mammography screenings are a woman’s best chance for detecting breast cancer early. According to the American Cancer Society:
- Women 40 years and older should get a mammogram every 1 to 2 years.
- Women who have had breast cancer or other breast problems or who have a family history of breast cancer, might need to start getting mammograms before age 40 or they might need to get them more often. Talk to your doctor about when to start and how often you should have a mammogram.
Mammography at Rhea Medical Center
Rhea Medical Center recently installed the most advanced Digital Mammography technology available. No other hospital in all of Southeast Tennessee currently has technology this advanced.
Lead Mammographer Edie Shaver has worked hard to make getting a mammogram as pleasant an experience as possible for her patients. Women who get their mammograms at Rhea Medical Center enjoy a warm and comfortable environment, and benefit from the positive and friendly attitude of Shaver and the rest of the radiology staff.
In addition to regular office hours, Rhea Medical Center offers after-hours appointments for women wishing to get a mammogram without taking time off from work. The evening schedule is available Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Women's Waiting Area
What to Expect
Preparation: Going in for your first mammogram may seem a little intimidating at first, but Shaver says that the radiology staff will counsel women on any concerns they may have about a screening or its results prior to the mammogram. Patients can be confident knowing that the facilities and equipment at Rhea Medical Center are as good as any in the region.
Procedure: During the mammogram, your breasts will be pressed between two pieces of plastic for a few seconds, which may be briefly uncomfortable.
“Some people think that mammograms are painful, but with the new equipment, they really aren’t,” said Shaver. “With this machine, compression is no longer painful and the whole process is quick and easy.”
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