Author: Elizabeth Wende Breast Care

Should I be Worried About Radiation and Mammography? 

How much radiation am I exposed to during a mammogram?

It is equivalent to the amount of radiation you get from flying from New York to California.

Should I have a mammogram every other year to limit my radiation exposure?

Radiation is not cumulative, meaning it won’t build up over time and cause harm. The amount of radiation you are exposed to during a mammogram is well within safe ranges. The American College of Radiology (ACR) and Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) recommend annual mammograms.

Making A Difference

 

T-Shirt Fundraiser for Breast Care Fund

If you are in one of our seven offices on a Friday during July or August, you may see the staff wearing this t-shirt supporting Elizabeth Wende Breast Care Fund. Of course, you can buy one too at the Brighton office (between 6:45 and 4:40 pm) for $20.!

The t-shirt comes in ladies’ and unisex styles and all sizes while supplies last.

EWBC Adds Trabecular Bone Score (TBS) with Bone Density Testing

The Trabecular Bone Score is a measurement of bone structure and quality obtained through special software now available during the same scan that measures bone density. No additional scanning, imaging, radiation, or time is needed for a TBS.

When TBS is combined with bone density testing, more information about your bone health is obtained. BMD (Bone Mineral Density) score is related to bone mass only. The TBS score is a better predictor of fracture risk than the BMD scores alone. TBS can help recognize these people and allow for more personalized care to prevent fractures.

Insurance coverage varies depending on the patient’s carrier and insurance plan.

TBS Patient Guide

Why do I have pain?

Why do I have breast pain?

Most women will have breast pain at one time or another. Breast pain that comes and goes with your menstrual cycle or stress is considered more normal Even though most women will experience breast pain in their lifetime, there are some red flags you should be aware of.

You will want to see your doctor for breast pain:

  • The pain is only in one breast
  • The pain is new and does not go away
  • Your breast is red, warm to the touch, or you notice changes to how the nipple or breasts look

Why do I often feel discomfort around my menstrual cycle, and will it eventually go away?

  • Most women feel dome breast discomfort with their menstrual cycle. This is because the hormones (estrogen and progesterone) stimulate the glandular breast tissue.
  • This may cause a small fluid accumulation on the tissue and can cause the breast tissue to be lumpier and uncomfortable or even painful

Does breast pain mean it is cancer?

Breast pain is a common occurrence, and often not related to a serious concern

When should I consult my primary care physician or OBGYN?

You should discuss breast pain with your doctor if it is persistent and doesn’t seem to be going away or if you notice changes to how your breasts look, such as redness or nipple changes

What other things can cause breast pain?

  • Sometimes pain/discomfort can seem to be within the breast when it’s really coming from another area (shoulder, neck, chest wall)
  • Women may suffer from arthritis or a condition called costochondritis and this may appear to be breast-related pain
  • For these reasons, the mammogram is often normal when breast pain is present

It is important to know your body and understand how your breasts normally look and feel.
Speak to your doctor or call our office if you notice any changes in your breasts.

Important Information regarding EWBC

Rochester and its surrounding areas have many options for your mammogram, including hospital systems and nationally owned radiology practices. Elizabeth Wende Breast Care (EWBC) is the only independent dedicated breast center in the Rochester region.

In recent months, our patients have been receiving confusing texts, calls, and emails from facilities other than EWBC, stating they are due for their mammogram (even if they are not).

Please be aware, these are marketing campaigns and not based on your health history.

Their marketing approach can be problematic for many different reasons. Your insurance will not cover multiple screening mammograms in the same year, leaving you responsible for an unnecessary medical bill. Scheduling with a new facility unfamiliar with your medical/family history can result in a radiologist interpreting your mammogram without prior records, resulting in unnecessary repeat testing, increased healthcare costs, and anxiety.

It is important to develop a lifelong relationship with your breast imaging specialists. You want to continue to visit the same practice where breast imaging experts evaluate your images. Your yearly commitment to our breast center is vital in the early detection of breast cancer. At EWBC, you are evaluated with 3D technology and breast imaging experts who know your history.

EWBC is committed to keeping our patients educated and informed. The quarterly EWBC newsletter provides updates on the latest technology and topics on breast health.

Scheduling is easy with options online, our EWBC App, or a phone call. In addition, EWBC has a comprehensive reminder system that gives ample notice to patients of upcoming appointments and opportunities to reschedule if needed.

Please be aware of marketing emails or texts sent to you by other facilities suggesting you are due for a mammogram and take note of the medical facility sending that message.

Any communication regarding your scheduled appointment
at EWBC will be from
donotreply@ewbc.com  OR  text message

You can always verify
your past and future EWBC appointments
at portal.ewbc.com or by calling (585) 442-2190

 

Out of pocket costs and the benefits of a private, independent breast imaging center

It’s the beginning quarter of a new year, which means your deductible is high without any services applied toward it. You want choices in how much you should spend on medical services. Out-of-pocket costs can vary depending on where you have your exam. Variation in cost is most apparent when comparing hospital-based radiology departments vs. independent imaging centers.

Here are the questions we get asked most often from our patients:

“I was quoted a price at the hospital twice as much as the same service at your facility. Why the extreme difference in cost?”

It is easy to wonder why such discrepancies exist in the price of medical exams. Shouldn’t it cost the same regardless of the facility? The difference has mostly to do with the size of hospital systems vs. private offices. Hospital systems have higher operational costs that are factored into charges for each procedure.

As of January 1, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid require hospital systems to post the standard cost of common services and other associated charges. This program aims to give more information to the consumer to anticipate healthcare costs. https://www.cms.gov/hospital-price-transparency/consumers

“EWBC is always less costly. How is this possible?”

Elizabeth Wende Breast Care (EWBC) can provide services at a lower cost because we are an independent private practice solely focused on one thing- breast imaging. We streamline our processes to minimize expenses. We offer one specialty and excel in our services and patient care.

Lower costs do not translate into discounted care. It is the exact opposite. EWBC focuses on best practices and care by investing in quality breast imaging techniques and technology.

Do not let cost prevent you from seeking medical care. Instead, be an informed consumer and select a center that provides you with the highest quality care at the greatest value.

Contact EWBC
Billing Department
to answer questions

(585) 442-1830

 

I Have Breast Pain – What Should I Do?

Breast pain (especially dull, aching, itching, or sharp), soreness, discomfort, and tenderness are common complaints, however, not likely related to a serious concern. Doctors call it mastalgia. Most women have breast pain at one time or another, often more in one breast than the other. Sometimes the pain is only in one breast or in only one area of one breast. It is important to talk to your doctor about your concerns.

Your healthcare professional can help you determine the cause of your breast pain and whether you require treatment.

Here are some frequent questions from our patients at Elizabeth Wende Breast Care about breast pain:

Why do I often feel discomfort around my menstrual cycle, and will it eventually go away?

Most women feel some breast discomfort during their menstrual cycle. Hormonal fluctuations are making your breasts painful and are the number 1 reason for breast pain. It is normal to have breast tenderness that comes and goes around the time of your period. This is because the hormones (estrogen and progesterone) stimulate the glandular breast tissue. This may cause a small fluid accumulation in the tissue and can cause the breast tissue to be lumpier and more uncomfortable or even painful. Irregular periods are commonly associated with breast pain and swelling.

Breast pain can happen at various times in your life including puberty, around your monthly cycle, pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause. Even some hormone medications can cause breast pain.

What questions will my doctor ask me about the pain?

  • What does the pain feel like?
  • How long have you had this pain?
  • How bad is the pain and what does it feel like (is it sharp, fullness of breasts, tenderness, etc.)?
  • Does it come and go?
  • Do you notice the pain as a pattern related to your period or menopause?
  • How much caffeine do you drink daily?
  • Are you under stress?
  • Could it be related to trauma (chest or muscle injury, seat belt injury)?
  • Do you have any redness, swelling, or visible changes to your breast or nipple?

I’m pregnant and my breasts hurt, why is that?

If you become pregnant, your breasts may remain painful usually during the first trimester as hormone production ramps up. Breast tenderness is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy for many women.

I am breastfeeding and it is causing breast tenderness. Why?

Breastfeeding can sometimes be the source of breast pain. Some of the things you can experience while nursing include:

  • Painful nipples from an improper latch (the way a baby latches on to suck)
  • Discomfort from a blocked milk duct
  • The tingling sensation during letdown (when the milk starts to flow to the baby)
  • Nipple soreness due to being bitten or having dry, cracked skin or an infection

If you have pain while breastfeeding, it is best to talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant. They can help you troubleshoot the problem while maintaining your milk supply.

Breastfeeding women are most likely to get breast infections (mastitis), but infections occasionally may occur in all women. If you have a breast infection, you may have a fever and symptoms in one breast, including redness and swelling. A breast infection will need to be evaluated by a doctor and treated right away (usually with antibiotics).

My breast pain does not have anything to do with my period—what could be causing it and how would I know if it is normal?

There are lots and lots of reasons for breast pain besides hormones (although it is the most common cause). Pain may come from the breast, or it could come from muscles or joints close to the breast and felt in the breast. It usually but not always involves just one breast. A poor-fitting bra, trauma to the chest wall (getting hit in the chest), arthritis, a side effect of certain medications, and psychiatric drugs sometimes cause breast pain.

What feels like breast pain may actually be coming from your chest wall. Muscle strain, a pulled muscle, inflammation around the ribs, or a bone fracture could be a reason for the pain. Women may suffer from arthritis or costochondritis (inflammation between the rib and breastbone), and this may appear to be breast-related pain.

When should I consult my primary care physician or OBGYN?

It is important to talk to your doctor about your concerns! A lump, breast pain that is new or different, or other breast changes should always be discussed with your doctor. Depending on your symptoms, your medical provider may suggest additional tests, such as a mammogram, breast biopsy, or other ways to determine the cause of the pain.

Talk to your doctor if you are worried if the pain does not improve or you notice any of these signs:

  • Your doctor will want to know more about the pain for further evaluation
  • You have a lump (painful or not)
  • You have redness, swelling, or drainage from the area (signs of infection)
  • You have nipple discharge
  • Your breast pan is not clearly associated with your menstrual cycle or lasts more than two weeks
  • Your breast pain is just in one spot and does not involve the whole breast
  • Your breast pain keeps getting worse
  • The pain is affecting your life and limiting what you can do
  • Any new breast symptoms
  • Pain that might be related to implants
  • Bruise that doesn’t go away

What will my doctor do?

Your doctor may order a mammogram. A breast radiologist will look at your imaging and determine if you need any additional pictures or breast ultrasound. If you are younger than 40, lactating, or pregnant, your doctor may order an ultrasound of your breast instead of a mammogram. The breast radiologist may decide to perform a mammogram as well to evaluate your area of pain.

What kinds of things might the breast radiologist see?

For most of the women who have imaging for breast pain, the mammogram and/or ultrasound are completely normal (75-88%). The radiologist will find a benign cause for the pain, in around 10% of women,

The most common benign cause of pain is a breast cyst. Breasts cysts are sacs of fluid in the breast and many women have them and never know it. They can become painful with changes in your body’s hormones or when they increase in size.

One-to-two percent of women may need further evaluation with a breast biopsy because the radiologist sees something on the images and cannot tell exactly what it is. A breast biopsy is an outpatient procedure where a small piece of tissue is removed from your breast to be evaluated under a microscope.

Very few women with breast pain have breast cancer and some studies show that your chance of having breast cancer is the same whether you have breast pain or not.

Could breast pain mean it is cancer?

Breast pain is rarely a sign of breast cancer. It’s unusual for breast cancer to cause pain, but possible. Inflammatory breast cancer often causes pain but it’s rare, accounting for 1% to 5% of breast cancer cases in the United States. Symptoms of this aggressive disease often come on suddenly and progress rapidly. Inflammatory breast cancer may cause the breast to become red or discolored, swollen or feel heavy, painful, skin on the breast may also thicken or dimple. If you are concerned about inflammatory breast cancer, see your doctor immediately.

Summary

Breast pain (especially dull, aching, itching, or sharp) is common in women and often not a serious concern.

Most women feel some breast discomfort with their menstrual cycle because hormones (estrogen and progesterone) stimulate the glandular breast tissue. This may cause a small fluid accumulation in the tissue and cause the breast tissue to be lumpier, uncomfortable, or even painful. Stress and caffeine can worsen the pain.

Sometimes the pain seems to be within the breast when it’s really coming from a nearby location (shoulder, neck, chest wall). Women may suffer from arthritis or costochondritis (inflammation between the rib and breastbone) and this may appear to be breast-related pain. For these reasons, the mammogram is often normal when breast pain is present.

Sometimes the pain is only in one breast and frequently only one area of the breast.

While breast pain is typically not an early sign of breast cancer, it may be helpful to undergo a thorough evaluation of this symptom. Women who have breast pain may be advised to get a mammogram, ultrasound, or both. In these cases, a doctor may recommend diagnostic mammography, which may involve more images than a routine mammogram. The mammography center may also recommend an ultrasound with your mammogram.

 

 

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram