For a free physician referral, call MedLine at (800) 242-5662.
Early detection is a women's best defense in the fight against breast cancer. The earlier the cancer is detected, the more options there are for treatment. The mammography suite at the Outpatient Imaging Center features the latest state-of-the-art digital mammography equipment with the lowest dose of radiation available. A mammogram, which is an x-ray of the breast, is used to look for breast disease in women.
Breast Cancer Screenings
While being screened for cancer can be stressful, it is an important step. Remember that early detection leads to early diagnosis and more effective treatment.
- Self-exams - start doing these in your 20s. This practice will get you familiar with your body and help you notice any troublesome changes.
- Annual checkups - your doctor will do clinical exams of your breasts at your regular office visits.
- Mammograms - most doctors recommend yearly mammograms once you turn 40, or earlier if you have other risk factors.
If you notice any changes in your breasts - such as pain, irritation, or lumps - tell your doctor right away. And be sure to discuss the mammography schedule that's right for you. Your health may depend on it!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that some 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. While that is a troublesome statistic, there are some things you can do to protect yourself.
Know the Risks
While no one can be certain what really causes breast cancer, here are some factors you should keep in mind.
- Age - women over age 40 have the highest risk.
- Sex - mostly women get breast cancer, but men can as well.
- Medical history - having had breast cancer before or receiving radiation treatment for other conditions can increase your chances.
- Family history - you're at higher risk if family members have had breast or ovarian cancer.
- Childbearing - never having children, or having them late in life, increases your chances.
- Alcohol - consuming more than one drink a day makes you at higher risk.
There are no foolproof ways to keep cancer at bay, but here are guidelines for staying healthy overall.
- Be active - try to exercise most days of the week, for at least 30 minutes each day.
- Eat well - load your plate with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Watch your weight - extra pounds can lead to many diseases, so maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise.
- Limit alcohol - if you choose to drink, do it only in moderation.