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FAQs

Why should I have a mammogram?
There is so much conflicting information out there. When is the correct time to get a mammogram?
I have heard it is alright to wait until age 50 to start mammography, why should I start at age 40?
Will I be exposed to radiation?
Are X-Rays and other images sometimes read by doctors in another town or state?
I have heard it is important to compare previous mammogram images with a current mammogram. Is that true?
What if my mammogram or ultrasound shows something concerning?
What if I should need a biopsy on my breast?
How do I schedule an appointment? 
Are all breast imaging centers the same? 
Is there other testing besides mammography that aids in early detection of breast cancer? 
What does it mean to have dense breasts? 
What is Henda's Law? 

 

Why should I have a mammogram?

The importance of mammograms has recently been reaffirmed, by the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Cancer Institute, as an important tool in the early detection of breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women and the second leading cause of cancer death (lung cancer death is the most common). One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer sometime in their lifetime.

 

There is so much conflicting information about when to start and how often to get a mammogram. When is the correct time to get a mammogram?

The Breast Center at Midland Health continues to follow the guidelines set out by The American College of Radiology and The Society of Breast Imaging which both recommend a yearly mammogram starting at age 40.

 

I have heard it is alright to wait until age 50 to start mammography, why should I start at age 40?

Although some organizations are stating that waiting until age 50 to start your mammogram is acceptable, we continue with the standards of starting at age 40.  This is due to the fact that one in six women who are diagnosed with breast cancer will be between the age of 40 and 49.  Also, breast cancer diagnosed in younger women has a greater potential of being much more aggressive.  This makes early detection of the utmost importance.

 

Will I be exposed to radiation?

While mammography is considered a safe examination, you will be exposed to a low dose of radiation, the equivalent of six months of natural background exposure.

 

Are X-Rays and other images sometimes read by doctors in another town or state?

Your mammogram, and any other breast imaging you may need, is read by one of our team of local radiologist.  The radiologists at The Breast Center have over 100 years of combined experience in reading breast imaging.

I have heard that it is important to compare previous mammogram images with a current mammogram. Is that true?

Yes, subtle changes from year-to-year can help us find breast cancer as soon as possible. We have all records of previous breast imaging performed here at The Breast Center and use these images for comparison.

What if my mammogram or ultrasound shows something concerning?

At The Breast Center, when we see an area of concern, our radiologist has a personal consultation with the patient to discuss recommendations. A Nurse Navigator is also present to make sure that the necessary care for all breast health needs is continued seamlessly.

What if I should need a biopsy on my breast?

Stereotactic, Ultrasound-guided and MRI-guided biopsies are all available on-site at The Breast Center. If it is determined that you need a biopsy, your Nurse Navigator will assist you in getting scheduled within 24-48 hours. After the biopsy is done, she will call you with your results with 24-48 hours. If further evaluation is needed, she can get you in with a breast surgeon within 24-48 hours. This way the time of uncertainty is cut to a minimum.

How do I schedule an appointment?

You do not need a doctor's order to schedule a mammogram, just a healthcare provider to whom we can send the report. Call The Breast Center at (432) 221.2300 and select option 1, then inform our schedulers that you would like to schedule a screening mammogram.


Are all breast imaging centers the same?

The Breast Center has been named as an ACR Breast Center of Excellence and 1 of  2 centers in Texas named as a NQMBC Breast Center of Excellence.  We have recently received a full three-year accreditation with NAPBC (National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers).  All of these distinctions mean that there are processes in place to make sure that the highest standard of care is being maintained for our breast patients.  We have a Comprehensive Breast Team consisting of Radiologists, Breast Surgeon, Reconstructive Surgeon, Oncologists, Radiation Oncologist, Pathologists, Rehabilitation, Mammography and Ultrasound Technologists and Nurse Navigators.  Our team works together to make sure that all breast care is done in an efficient manner.


Is there other testing besides mammography that aids in early detection of breast cancer?

If the Radiologist finds that you have dense breast, a recommendation of an annual 3D screening mammogram and an annual breast screening ultrasound will be made.  Also, your lifetime risk of developing breast cancer will be assessed and if you have a greater than 20% lifetime risk, an MRI of the breast will be offered.


What does it mean to have dense breasts?

There are two types of breast tissue, fatty and dense breast tissue. If you have a higher percentage of dense breast tissue, you are considered to have dense breasts.  Dense breast tissue appears white or grey on the mammogram and allows for masses or other abnormalities which would also appear white or grey to hide within the dense areas.  An ultrasound is recommended for women with dense breasts so that any hidden problems can be visualized.


What is Henda's Law?

In 2011, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 2102, which is known informally as “Henda’s Law”―named after Henda Salmeron, a Dallas realtor and breast cancer survivor who was instrumental in organizing the effort to pass the law in Texas. It is based on a similar law in Connecticut, and requires that mammography providers inform women that dense breast tissue can affect the accuracy of mammography in detecting breast cancer, and women with dense breasts may benefit from supplemental screening. The mandated language for the notification reads:

Texas H.B. 2102 – Henda’s Law – Breast Density
If your mammogram demonstrates that you have dense breast tissue, which could hide abnormalities, and you have other risk factors for breast cancer that have been identified, you might benefit from supplemental screening tests that may be suggested by your ordering physician.

Dense breast tissue, in and of itself, is a relatively common condition. Therefore, this information is not provided to cause undue concern but rather to raise your awareness and to promote discussion with your physician regarding the presence of other risk factors, in addition to dense breast tissue.

A report of your mammogram results will be sent to you and your physician. You should contact your physician if you have any questions or concerns regarding this report.