A MAMMOGRAM IS RECOMMENDED FOR:
- Most women should get a yearly mammogram starting at age 40.
- Women who are at increased risk of breast cancer (family or medical history), may need to start earlier. Check with your primary care physician as early as your 20s.
- Women with dense breasts.
- Women who have not yet gone through menopause, or who have been in menopause less than one year.
At Christian Hospital, you don’t need a physician’s order or even an appointment for a screening mammogram, as we accept walk-ins. The Breast Health Center at Northwest HealthCare, located only six miles west of our main campus, also offers patients convenient access to both digital and 3D mammography services.
The breast health nurse navigator is here for you and serves as a liaison between the patient, doctors and family. She helps coordinate appointments and assist throughout from screening to treatment. As your advocate, she can assist with care and serve as educator throughout the treatment process. For more information on Breast Health, please reach out to Helen Blair at 314.653.5523.
Mammography has advanced drastically from traditional film mammograms. Digital mammography produces digital images that appear in seconds on a high-resolution computer monitor in half the time of traditional, film-based exams.
The radiologist can adjust the brightness, change contrast and zoom in for close-ups of specific areas to help detect small calcifications, masses and other changes that might be signs of early cancer. And because of the quality of images, the radiologist can evaluate the results accurately, so patients rarely need to return for additional screens.
As a supplement to digital mammography, Christian Hospital and Northwest HealthCare use computer-aided detection (CAD) to automatically scan mammogram images and flag abnormalities to help radiologists detect early areas of concern.
3D mammography produces multiple layers of sharp images – each layer just one millimeter thin – which allows the radiologist to scroll through your digital mammogram layer by layer, to look for suspicious masses. This improved mammography technology, referred to as tomography, is especially helpful for women with dense breast tissue.
With 3D mammography, there are fewer “false positives.” What might have seemed like an abnormal piece of breast tissue can be ruled out when our radiologist reviews the image layer by layer, saving the patient from a return trip and needless anxiety.
The sooner cancer is detected, the sooner treatment can begin, which greatly increases the patient's opportunity for survival. The 3D mammography technology sees cancer better and finds more invasive cancer earlier.
If your 3D image reveals a mass, a BJC physician radiologist, who specializes in reading breast imaging, can fast-track you for treatment seamlessly, as Christian Hospital can provide imaging, surgery and oncology treatments.
Christian Hospital and Northwest HealthCare, members of BJC HealthCare, provide world-class medical care to the communities of North County, Greater St. Louis County and Southern Illinois.