Headlines & Helpful Information
By: Susan G. Komen
We’ve all been there. You’re standing in your doctor’s exam room
and she’s ready to wrap things up. She casually asks, “Do you have any
questions?” and instantly, your mind goes blank. It’s not until you’re driving home
that you remember what you wanted to ask and the rest of the day, you’re
Don’t worry; it happens to the best of us. But advocating for your
own breast health is one of the best things you can do for yourself. So, don’t
wait for your doctor to start the conversation. Here are a few questions for next
time. Or better yet, to print out and take with you.
you perform a clinical breast exam (CBE) today?
If your health care provider doesn’t perform a breast
exam, ask for one. They won’t mind. An exam takes little time and
could find something that needs to be checked.
is my risk of breast cancer?
Breast cancer risk is determined by a number of factors including
age, ethnicity, family history, lifestyle, hormone levels, breast density and
more. Ask your doctor to access your risk. Understanding your risk can help you make informed
choices about your health.
should I start getting mammograms?
If you’re at average risk, start getting mammograms at age 40. If you are at higher risk, talk with your
doctor about when you should start getting mammograms (or other screening
tests) and how often to have them. You
can also download our Questions
to Ask Your Doctor about Mammography to bring to your appointment.
often should I get a mammogram?
Susan G. Komen® believes
all women should have access to regular screening mammograms when they and their health care providers decide
it is best based on their personal risk of breast cancer. Breast cancer
screening is important for all women. Women at higher than average risk may
need breast cancer screening earlier and more often than women at average
risk. Talk with your doctor about how often you should get mammograms.
my mammogram covered by insurance?
Screening mammograms are covered by most insurance, including
Medicare and Medicaid. Since 2010, the Affordable Care Act has required all plans
to cover screening every one to two years with no out-of-pocket costs for women
ages 40 and older. Also, low-cost
and free mammograms are offered through national and local programs. Call our
Breast Care Helpline at 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636) for resources in your
my mammogram scheduled at an FDA certified center?
Congress enacted the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) in
1992 toensure all facilities meet
national standards. To find a
certified mammography center in your area, visit the FDA website.
my radiologist specialize in mammography?
Radiologists who read a lot of mammograms are generally better
able to interpret the images than radiologists who don’t read them as
often. A high-volume mammography center may help you feel assured your
mammogram will be read correctly. In general, though, lower-volume centers are
just as good at reading mammograms and most lower-volume, certified mammography
centers provide quality screening.
there another type of screening I should be getting instead?
Mammography is the most effective
screening tool used today to find breast cancer in most women. If a
clinical exam or screening mammogram shows a suspicious finding, other tests
may be recommended as follow-up, such as a diagnostic mammogram, breast
ultrasound or breast MRI. If you are at
higher risk of breast cancer, a mammogram and breast MRI may be recommended for
If you have a physical disability, have breast implants (which can
make it harder to read a mammogram), are pregnant or are breastfeeding, ask
your doctor about what tests are right for you. As with implants, the tissue in your breasts while
breastfeeding may appear dense on a mammogram, making it hard to read. So, it's
best to wait until after you stop breastfeeding to get a routine screening
mammogram. Discuss the best timing to get a mammogram with your health care
provider if you're due for screening. If
you have any concerns about your breasts while you're breastfeeding (such as
finding a lump or other change), see your provider.
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