Here are the American Cancer Society guidelines concerning breast health:
- Breast Self-Exam (BSE). Women should know how their breasts normally feel. Beginning in their 20s, women should learn the benefits of BSE and should perform monthly exams. Report any breast changes promptly to your healthcare provider.
- Clinical Breast Exam (CBE). Women between the ages of 20 and 30 should have a breast exam by a healthcare provider every three years. Women age 40 and over should have a clinical exam annually.
- Mammography: Have a mammogram every year beginning at age 40. Mammograms may be recommended at an earlier age if there is a strong family history of breast cancer or other risk factors.
For women at high risk, the American Cancer Society recommends you discuss your risk with your healthcare provider to decide whether additional testing is indicated.
What is mammography?
A mammogram is a very safe low-dose X-ray examination of the breasts that is used to to detect and diagnose breast diseases. A screening mammography is used for women with no symptoms and is a tool in the prevention of breast disease. A diagnostic mammography is for women with symptoms, i.e., breast mass, nipple discharge and breast pain or skin irritation.
Do you accept all insurance plans?
Most health insurance plans that participate with Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center are accepted. To ensure your insurance is accepted, it is advisable you contact your insurance company's telephone number on the back of your card.
Why do I need a doctor's prescription to have my exam?
It is a requirement that a doctor prescribes the test. We want to ensure you are getting the proper care as requested by your doctor.
When should I schedule my mammogram?
Schedule your mammogram after you obtain a prescription from your doctor. Your doctor should perform a clinical breast examination, and you should discuss any problems you may have with your breasts. Usually the best time for your mammogram is one week after your menstrual cycle when your breasts are less tender.
Why do I need to arrive 15 minutes before my actual appointment time?
We want to ensure you have enough time to be registered and to complete the required forms.
Why do I need to bring my prior films?
If you have had prior studies, it is in your best interest to bring any films as well as any reports with you. In some cases, it may prevent the need for you to return for additional imaging if the radiologist has prior studies to compare your scans to.
What do I need to do to prepare for my mammography?
On the day of your examination:
- Remember to bring your prescription, health insurance card and photo ID with you.
- Do not wear any deodorant, creams, lotions or powders.
- Inform the technologist if there may be a chance you could be pregnant.
Who will perform my exam?
All exams are performed by highly trained certified technologists. Some procedures are performed by a board-certified radiologist.
What should I expect during my mammography?
The technologist will ask you to remove any jewelry and clothing from the waist up and will give you a gown with the opening to the front. The technologist will help guide and position your breasts on the platform of the machine. A compression paddle will compress your breasts to evenly spread out breast thickness so that small abnormalities will not be obscured. You will be asked to change positions in between images. This is repeated for each breast.
What will I experience during the examination?
The examination takes approximately a half an hour. Some women with sensitive breasts may feel minor discomfort. During the examination, you will feel pressure on the breasts as they are compressed. The technologist should be informed if any pain is significant, as compression is increased during the examination. The technologist will adjust the compression as necessary.
Will I need to return for additional images?
It is not uncommon for the radiologist to request additional imaging to obtain more detailed information of a specific area.
How will I receive the results of my exam?
Our radiologists are board certified by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and will interpret your study. You will receive the results of your exam by mail within a few days. Your referring physician will receive the actual report. Any suspicious findings are faxed to your referring physician immediately, and you will be notified by mail.
Breast Cancer and the New Normal
Open Support Group
Join our Open Group every other Tuesday evening from 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Discuss issues relevant to your Diagnosis, Treatment and Survivorship.
Location: Breast Health Services, 100 Hospital Rd Suite 106, Patchogue NY (Building across from the Main Entrance to Brookhaven Hospital). A free service for breast cancer patients. Call 631-654-7577 for details.