You’ve probably heard you should get an annual mammogram starting at age 40. However, most women don’t know where to start when it comes to selecting a breast care center. Keep the five questions below in mind as you start your search.
1. Does the center have the latest in breast imaging technology?
Enhanced technology enables doctors to do better work. When selecting your breast care center, ask about 3D digital mammography capabilities, or impress the staff by using the scientific name: digital breast tomosynthesis. This technology offers improved visualization of breast tissue using 3D technology and reduces callbacks for additional imaging. 3D mammography doesn’t involve additional radiation at Elizabeth Wende, where radiologists use software that allows the radiation dose to be equal to 2D mammography.
2. Is your screening mammogram being read twice?
Most facilities only have one physician reading each mammogram — you should look for two. Two physicians reading your mammogram means an extra set of eyes, two expert opinions and peace of mind. We at Elizabeth Wende Breast Care are proud to say we double read screening mammograms. Results are available while you wait, and if you need an additional work-up, it’s done on the same day — no rescheduling for another day!
3. Is there someone to answer your questions?
Trust us, you’re going to have questions — lots of questions. The absolute worst thing that could happen would be for those questions to go unanswered. Look for a breast care center that has a patient advocate or facilitator to make the process easier. They can answer any questions you may have, explain what will happen during your visit and even sit with you in the waiting room. It’s always great to have a friend, even if they’re wearing purple scrubs.
4. Is genetic testing offered at the facility?
A woman’s risk of breast cancer just about doubles if she has a first-degree relative who has been diagnosed. Although patients are proactively screened, some facilities have a genetic counselor on staff. The counselor should be available to meet with patients to answer any questions regarding risk status, or to decide if they are an appropriate candidate for genetic testing in search of breast cancer genes. Having this counselor on staff makes it easier for a patient at higher risk to get the evaluation and expert advice she may require in one facility, without having to do her own legwork.
5. Does the staff take time to make you feel comfortable?
Ultimately, you should select a breast care center you trust and feel comfortable going to. Some facilities go the extra mile by offering amenities like coffee, tea and chair massages to enhance the waiting room experience. You should also find a team that cares — a team with experience and a specialty in breast imaging.
Going to get a mammogram may never become your favorite thing, but finding a breast imaging center that takes into account the above five things will make your experience more comfortable and seamless, and maybe even something you look forward to doing each year for yourself!
For more information or to schedule your appointment visit our Contact Us page.