October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Today, about 1 of 8 women in the United States is unfortunately expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Throughout October, members of the Rochester Regional Health Breast Care team will provide information in our monthly Q&A series to help you take a few important steps that can significantly improve your odds of enjoying a lifetime of good health.
Katherine Rogala Dr. William Bowen
Rochester Regional Health Breast Care Team
Q: What is a mammogram and when should I start getting them?
A: Mammography uses a low-dose x-ray system designed specifically to see inside breast tissue. A mammogram is used to detect and evaluate changes in your breast tissue that could be indicators of conditions such as breast cancer. A technologist will perform the screening in a private mammography suite. She will position your breast on the detector of the mammography machine. A special device will then gently flatten your breast to spread the tissue and produce a more uniform thickness. You may feel a sensation of pressure or tightness as the breast is being flattened. Once the technologist takes two pictures of your breast in different positions, the procedure is repeated on the other breast. The entire procedure usually takes about 15 minutes.
Women should discuss with their doctor getting mammograms as they approach 40 as most women should start annual mammograms when they turn 40. Your doctor would be the best person to discuss what is best for you in regards to your current health and risk factors.
The Rochester General Health Breast Center is one of the highest volume breast centers in New York State and is a Center of Excellence in cancer care. Our goals are to: Provide patient focused state-of-the-art comprehensive and coordinated multidisciplinary care in a compassionate and supportive environment, maintain excellence through supporting oncology clinical research, and serve as a community resource for referring and treating physicians as well as patients and their families. For more information, visit our website.