St. Mary's Women's Imaging Services offers the following:
If you do not have health insurance and are over the age of 40, call the Cancer Services Program for more information (518) 841-3726. You may be eligible for these services through the Cancer Services Program Partnership.
Information Regarding Your Mammogram
Breast Cancer is the major cause of illness and death among American women today. One out of every eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer during her life time. Until the disease can be prevented, the best way to protect yourself is through early detection. Today’s imaging modalities can detect breast cancer in its earliest stage, when chances for cure are nearly 100%.
What is a Screening Mammogram?
A digitial mammogram is a safe low dose X-ray that can detect irregularities in the breast that neither you nor your doctor can feel. To take your mammogram, the technologist will have you stand in front of the machine and place your breast on a cushioned surface. The compression paddle conforms to the contour of the breast providing more comfort as the compression is spread evenly across the breast.
What is the difference between a Screening and a Diagnostic Mammogram?
A Screening Mammogram is designed to be fast and relatively low cost. Screening mammograms are routine tests done yearly on women who do not have any breast symptoms.
A Diagnostic Mammogram is done for women with any new breast symptom. Symptoms of breast disease include a lump that you can feel, nipple discharge, breast pain or generalized redness or swelling in part of the breast. If any symptoms occur, see your doctor immediately.
How do I prepare for the exam?
What should I expect during the exam?
You will feel pressure on your breast as it is squeezed by the compression paddle. Be sure to inform the technologist if pain occurs as the compression is increased. You must hold very still and may be asked to hold your breath while the X-ray is taken to reduce the possibility of motion. The technologist will step away to activate the machine.
At times it is necessary to have you return for additional mammography views or an ultrasound due to changes in the breast tissue. On average, 10-12% of patients having a mammogram are called back. Most changes in the breast are normal.
Who interprets the results and how do I obtain them?
A radiologist, a physician specially trained to supervise and interpret mammography exams, will analyze the images. A signed report will be sent to your referring physician. You will also be notified of the results by a letter from your mammography facility.
Did you know?
The risk of cervical cancer increases greatly for those who begin having sex before the age of eighteen and/or have multiple sexual partners.
What is a cervical exam?
A cervical exam includes:
A Pap smear and a pelvic exam in which a clinician collects tiny samples of cells from the cervix. This process takes onle a few minutes: the cells are checked for signs of cancer or infection.
What are the guidelines for a screening?
Cervical Cancer Screenings are for:
Women 40 - 64.
Be sure to talk with your doctor about a cervical cancer screening.
Know the symptoms of ovarian cancer. Identifying ovarian cancer at its earliest stage can help improve survival!
While these symptoms also represent common problems that affect most women at different times, it’s important to be aware of them. If you have one or more of these symptoms and if they persist for three weeks or more, see your doctor immediately.
Learn your family history If any female members of your family – either on your mother’s or your father’s side – has had ovarian cancer, it is important you notify your primary care physician and your obstetrician/gynecologist. They can monitor you on a regular basis using a variety of diagnostic tests that are available to screen for ovarian cancer. It is also important to notify your doctor if any male family members develop cancer.
Be your own advocate Researchers have found that women experience symptoms for an average of 12 weeks before consulting a doctor. In addition, it’s known that women who ignore their symptoms or who wait until the symptoms are severe before going to the doctor will not live as long as women who go to the doctor when their symptoms are mild.
Monitor your annual check-ups Make sure your primary care doctor and obstetrician/gynecologist conduct a thorough pelvic and rectal exam at every checkup. It is also important to have an annual mammogram beginning at age 40 and a regular colonoscopy after age 50.
Ask your doctor for the BRCA-1/BRCA-2 genetic test Genetic testing can determine if you carry gene mutations that put you at risk for having ovarian cancer. Carriers of the BRCA-1/BRCA-2 gene mutation carry a 60% lifetime increased risk of ovarian cancer. Testing for this gene consists of a simple blood test.
Determine your HNPCC risk Women who have a rare syndrome known as HNPCC (hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer) have a 10% chance of developing ovarian cancer. These women should be monitored closely for signs of ovarian and other types of cancers.
If you are 20 – 39:
If you are age 40 or over:
You could get breast cancer:
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