Is It Time For Your Annual Mammogram? Please Read This First.

Let’s be honest…no woman enjoys a mammogram. It’s not a fun process. However, it’s a vitally important screening test that can help you detect breast cancer very early. And the earlier this disease is detected, the better your chance of successful treatment.

Most women think that all mammography services are alike. However, that’s not exactly true. NOCHS is the only place on the lakeshore where women can get the most accurate screening with less radiation. Our tomo system combines both 2D and 3D images in high resolution. “This is significant, because it reduces discomfort while exposing a woman to half as much radiation as she would get with separate 2D and 3D diagnostic studies,” says Dr. Michael Schmidt of Envision Radiology. It also means the image is extremely clear with excellent contrast. The radiologists can spot smaller tumors, leading to earlier detection. And our tomo system has a curved compression surface that offers a more comfortable patient experience without compromising image quality or exam time.

“This technology looks at tissue in much thinner slices,” continues Dr. Schmidt. “The radiologist can look through the slices and distinguish healthy tissue from potentially cancerous tissue.” Tomo reduces those emotionally terrifying callbacks, and also dramatically reduces a woman’s exposure to radiation.

The tomo technology is definitely more comfortable and more accurate. And for most women, that’s enough. But what if your mammogram shows there is an area of concern? That’s when your choice really starts to matter.

Our Breast Evaluation Center has a full array of screening tools that cover any situation. We also have onsite, board-certified radiologists who read screening studies immediately and can perform next-day biopsies. A woman can go from a suspicious mammogram to a biopsy to results and be ready for a surgeon referral in three days or less. That’s simply unheard of in this day and age.

Perhaps most important of all is the human factor. Our staff routinely hears the question, “Can I hug you?” (or in today’s world, air hug). That may seem odd, until you think about the emotional support we provide when a woman confronts breast cancer. We guide patients every step of the way. We coordinate services, make appointments, and help women move as quickly as possible to a plan of action. There’s very little waiting. No one is cast adrift to figure it out alone.

So if it’s time for you to schedule your annual mammogram, we strongly encourage you to do three things:

  • First, make your appointment. Breast cancer is the number one-occurring cancer in women. Don’t let fear stop you from detecting this entirely treatable disease.
  • Second, choose a place that offers tomosynthesis, especially if you’ve been told you have dense breast tissue. You’ll get the clearest pictures, less radiation, and the most comfortable scan.
  • Third, even though it’s scary, spend a few minutes thinking about the “what if” questions. What if my scan shows something suspicious? What if I need a biopsy? What if I desperately want to talk to someone who cares? What if I need answers right now? You’re not just choosing a technology provider when you have a mammogram. You’re deciding how fast you will be able to act and how completely you will be supported.

The team at the NOCHS Breast Evaluation Center would love to talk with you about any questions, concerns or needs you might have. Please contact us at 616.847.5430. Remember that you don’t need a doctor’s order to have a mammogram, and most insurance covers this annual screening.


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