The Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital Women’s Center combines breast health services in one location, eliminating the necessity for multiple appointments and prolonged waiting for women. With a quick diagnosis, a woman can either forgo needless worry or more quickly begin a course of action if a problem is discovered. The Women’s Center boasts same-day results, flexible hours, walk-in appointments, free valet parking, private changing rooms, GE Full Field digital mammography, a stereotactic breast biopsy system, breast ultrasound, and a DEXA densitometer to screen for bone density.
Breast cancer typically produces no symptoms when the tumor is small and most treatable. Therefore, it is important women receive regular screenings to detect breast cancer at an early stage, before symptoms develop. When the cancer has grown to a size that can be felt, the most common physical sign is a painless lump. Sometimes breast cancer can spread to underarm lymph nodes and cause a lump or swelling, even before the original breast tumor is large enough to be felt. Less common symptoms include breast pain or heaviness; persistent changes to the breast, such as swelling, thickening, or redness of the breast’s skin; and nipple abnormalities such as spontaneous discharge (especially if bloody), erosion, inversion, or tenderness. The presence of pain does not necessarily indicate breast cancer just as the lack of pain could hide the fact that breast cancer is present. Therefore, any abnormality in the breast should be evaluated as quickly as possible.
“Most masses are not cancerous, do not grow uncontrollably or spread, and are not life-threatening,” Terri Hannon, OLBH director of Radiology, said. “Because of this, with same-day results for mammography we can eliminate a lot of extra worry.”
What is a Mammogram?
Mammography or a mammogram is an x-ray examination of the breast tissue. Mammography has been used for years to detect and diagnose breast diseases in both women and men.
What is a Screening Mammogram?
Screening mammograms are performed on patients who have no breast complaints. The goal of a screening mammogram is to detect breast cancer when it is still too small to be felt by a physical examination. Early detection of small breast cancers by screening mammography dramatically increases the chances for successful treat of the disease. The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the higher the chances of a complete cure. A physician order is not necessary for a screening mammogram.
What is Diagnostic Mammography?
Diagnostic mammograms are performed on patients with a breast complaint (a breast lump, breast pain, nipple discharge, etc.) or have had an abnormal screening mammogram. During a diagnostic mammogram, additional imaging of a breast abnormality will be taken and carefully evaluated.
A diagnostic mammogram may suggest that a biopsy is needed to tell whether or not a lesion is cancer. Mammography cannot prove that an abnormal area is cancer. If mammography raises a significant suspicion of cancer, tissue must be removed for examination under a microscope. This is can be done by needle biopsy or open surgical biopsy. A recommendation of a biopsy does not necessarily mean that the abnormality is cancer. When a biopsy is recommended the patient should discuss the different types of biopsy with their physician to determine which method of biopsy is best for her.
If you experience unusual tenderness, pain, nipple discharge or notice a lump in your breast no matter what your age is, contact your physician immediately. The best treatment for breast disease is early detection.
To schedule a mammogram at the OLBH Women’s Center, call (606) 836-PINK (7465) or toll free at 866-365-PINK (7465.)
The American Cancer Society recommends:
• Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health
• Clinical breast exam about every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over
• Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast change promptly to their health care provider. Breast self-exam is an option for women starting in their 20s.