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Breast Exam & Mammography

Every woman's wellness plan should include regular breast exams. Doing so can help you find problems early.

These three tests are used the most to check breast tissue:

Breast self-exam (BSE): You check your breasts for lumps or anything else that seems unusual.
Clinical breast exam (CBE): A doctor or other health care professional carefully feels the breasts and under your arms for lumps or anything else that seems unusual.
Mammogram: This is a low-dose, digital X-ray picture of the breast. A mammogram along with a breast exam by your doctor can find breast cancer at an early stage when it can best be treated.

A digital mammogram is a simple test. When you go for a mammogram, the technologist taking the picture will place your breast between two X-ray panels. The panels will push your breast between them to get a clear picture. You may feel a little bit of discomfort, but each X-ray takes less than 30 seconds.

Dana McElroy, R.T. (R)(M) ARRT and MammaCare Breast Self-Exam Instructor, is an expert in the field of mammography. McElroy said, "Thanks to advances in digital mammography, we now have added comfort through our use of specialized pads that are placed on the machine during your mammogram. Your comfort is very important to me. I will do my best to make it as easy as I can and still get a great quality mammogram. Mammography doesn't need to be something you dread anymore."

Women ages 40 and up should talk to their doctor about how often to have a mammogram - it varies based on your personal health and family history. A woman's chance of getting breast cancer is greater as she ages.

Women who have had breast cancer or other breast problems or who have a family history of breast cancer might need to start getting mammograms before age 40, or they might need to get them more often. Talk to your doctor about when to start and how often you should have a mammogram.

McElroy adds, "Even with no family history, all women need mammograms. This greatly improves the chances of finding a problem before it becomes too big."

Grady Memorial Hospital's Mammography Department offers digital mammography with state of the art comfort options. Recently, stereotactic core biopsy has been added to the services provided. Stereotactic core biopsy was developed as an alternative to surgical biopsy. It is a less invasive way to obtain the tissue samples needed for diagnosis. This procedure requires less recovery time than a surgical biopsy, and there is no significant scarring to the breast.

The Mammography Department can be reached at 405-779-2810 and Breast Self-Exam classes can be coordinated by calling 405-779-2202.