After heart disease and lung cancer, breast cancer kills more women than any other disease. This year, it will claim about 40,000 lives. The key to surviving breast cancer is early detection and the only way to ensure early detection is to see a doctor regularly for mammography screening.
A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray picture taken of your breast or breasts. Physicians use the mammogram to regularly screen healthy women for changes in their breasts. It plays a key role in the detection of suspicious breast lumps and calcifications. Sometimes, the mammogram can pick up these lumps a year or two before they would be noticed through breast self examinations. At our Women's Diagnostic Imaging Center, we offer 3D Mammography™ technology.
For an appointment, call scheduling at (401) 736-1988. option 3 for outpatient services. Mammogram appointments are available between 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
When and how often should I be getting mammograms?
Medical expert society groups recommend women start mammogram screening at different ages and at different frequencies. What is clear is women should have the opportunity to start annual mammograms at age 40 if desired.
Each woman’s risk of developing breast cancer is unique. Therefore the screening regimen they need is also unique. We recommend you discuss your risk of developing breast cancer with your primary care provider or gynecologist so you can decide on schedule that’s right for you.
In general, women with average risk of developing breast cancer should start annual mammograms between 40-45 years old based on the American Cancer Society Guidelines, and continue at least until age 55. At 55 years old you may choose to decrease mammograms to every 2 years until your life expectancy is less than 10 years.
Women with a “high risk” of developing breast cancer are typically recommended to start screening earlier. This may consist of annual breast MRIs and/or annual mammograms, but the specific schedule is up to you and your doctor.
You may be considered “High Risk” if you have any of the following:
- Genetic or hereditary susceptibility to breast cancer (ie BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene mutation positive)
- Underwent radiation therapy to the chest between the ages of 10-30
- Have a lifetime estimated risk of breast cancer ≥20% as calculated on a risk assessment tool
- A first degree relative (mom, sister) with breast cancer
- A strong family history of breast , ovarian, pancreatic or some other familial cancers