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Our free Mammography reports show
- FDA Warning Letters (if any)
- Written Responses to FDA
- Warning Letters (if any)
- Accreditation info
- General Breast Cancer info
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UCompareHealthCare has incorporated information on mammography centers to assist in seeking and evaluating the right center for you. The background information we provide is compiled from reputable sources. UCompareHealthCare has referenced all information so that you can do additional research and become more involved with or become an advocate for quality healthcare.
When you select a mammography center you should request to see the "FDA certificate" at the clinic you select. The FDA certificate shows the clinic's equipment and staff meet federal standards and that your mammogram will be both safe and of high quality. Please note that the mammography centers in our database are only the ones certified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or a Certifying State. Certification indicates these centers meet a baseline quality standard for equipment, personnel and practices dictated under the Mammography Quality Standards Act of 1992 (MQSA) and the subsequent Mammography Quality Standards Reauthorization Act (MQSRA) amendments. These standards apply to the technologist who performs the mammography, the radiologist (MD) who interprets the results and the medical physicist who tests the mammography equipment.
In the process of your evaluation you might want to call the center(s) you are considering and make sure that you have an idea of the price for your mammogram. You should also make sure that the center accepts your current insurance carrier and if there are additional non covered charges and understand what they will be. Other information that might be helpful is the type of mammogram you are going to have. One kind is a "screening" and the other is a "diagnostic" mammogram. These are sometimes covered differently by some insurers. As an example, Medicare covers only one screening mammogram per calendar year. Check with your insurer and make sure you understand what they will cover and what you will be responsible for.
The following information is taken from the booklet provided by the Department of Health and Human Services , Food and Drug Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane (HFI-40), Rockville, MD 20857, "Quick Information for Your Health" and is provided to help supplement your research.
What Is A Mammogram?
A mammogram is a special kind of X-ray of the breasts. Mammograms are used to help find breast cancer early, when it may still be curable. Mammograms are recommended for women older than 40, even if they have no signs of breast cancer.
What About Younger Women?
Mammograms are also recommended for younger women who have symptoms of breast cancer or who have a high risk of breast cancer.
Why Are Mammograms Important?
A mammogram can save your life. Mammograms can show tumors that may be cancer long before they can be felt. Treating tumors when they are still small makes curing cancer easier. You usually need to go to a special clinic to get a mammogram. The FDA inspects and certifies all places in the United States where mammograms are done. Look for the FDA certificate at the clinic where you go for your mammogram. FDA certification means the clinic's equipment and staff meet federal standards and that your mammogram will be safe and of high quality.
Who Gets Breast Cancer?
Any woman can get breast cancer. Each year, about 185,000 women in the United States get breast cancer and about 44,000 die from it.
You may be more likely to get breast cancer if you:
- Have a mother or sister who had breast cancer.
- Have inherited certain genes. These genes are more common in people with Jewish ancestors from Eastern Europe.
- Had your first menstrual period before you were 12.
- Stopped having periods after you were 50.
- Never had children or had your first child when you were over 30.
- Have had radiation treatments to your chest area.
- Also, the older you are, the more likely you are to get breast cancer. Remember, though, that one out of four women who get breast cancer don't have any of these risks.
Examinations Are Important
Three kinds of exams can help detect breast cancer:
- Doctor's exam
It's important to have a doctor examine your breasts at least once a year. It's also important to examine your breasts yourself once a month. Some women find it's easiest to do this at the same time each month, for example, when your menstrual period ends.
What If My Mammogram Shows A Problem?
Mammograms can show if the inside of the breast looks normal. But a mammogram can't show for sure if you have breast cancer. If you have a mammogram that doesn't look normal, your doctor will probably suggest a biopsy-a tissue sample of the breast. A biopsy is minor surgery. The breast tissue from a biopsy is tested in a laboratory to see if it's cancerous.
Remember, just because a problem area shows up on your mammogram that doesn't mean you have cancer. Cancer can be diagnosed only by a lab test on tissue from your breast.
How Breast Cancer Is Treated
There are a number of treatments for breast cancer. The treatment depends on the type of tumor, if the cancer has spread, and other facts you and your doctor will discuss. Some treatments are:
Lumpectomy: Surgery that removes the lump or tumor and a small amount of breast tissue around it, leaving the rest of the breast. A lumpectomy is usually the preferred treatment when cancer hasn't spread outside the breast.
Total Mastectomy: Surgery that removes the entire breast and usually the adjoining lymph nodes. This may be necessary when there is more than one cancer in the breast, or when a single cancer is large when compared to the breast. Breast reconstruction is usually available to women who have had a breast removed. If you have a breast removed, you may want to talk with your doctor about various types of surgical breast reconstruction and decide if reconstruction is right for you.
Radiation Therapy: Radiation from special equipment is aimed at the tumor to kill cancer cells and shrink the tumor.
Treatment With One Or More Drugs: Radiation and drug treatment are often given after surgery. Drugs may include chemotherapy agents or hormonal medications as an example.
The following information was obtained from the National Cancer Institute, U.S. National Institutes of Health. This organization has a wealth of information on the subject of mammograms and can be visited at http://www.cancer.gov.
Some statistics for you to consider:
- The older a women is, the greater her chances of developing breast cancer.
- It is estimated that 13.2% of women (1 in 8) born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer some time in their lives.
- Most breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50.
The following represents a woman's chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer by age group.
- 30 to 39 years old - 1 in 229
- 40 to 49 years old - 1 in 68
- 50 to 59 years old - 1 in 37
- 60 to 69 years old - 1 in 26
The American College of Radiology (ACR) has established a uniform way for radiologists to report mammogram findings. This system is called the BI-RADS® which stands for Breast Imaging Reporting and Database System. It is broken down into the following categories. Each category defines the assessment and the corresponding follow-up.
Breast Imaging Reporting and Database System (BI-RADS)
|0||Needs additional imaging evaluation||Additional imaging needed before a category can be assigned|
|1||Negative||Continue annual screening mammography (for women over age 40)|
|2||Benign (non-cancerous) findings||Continue annual screening mammography (for women over age 40)|
|3||Probably benign||Receive a 6 month follow up mammogram|
|4||Suspicious abnormality||May require biopsy|
|5||Highly suggestive of malignancy (cancer)||Requires biopsy|
|6||Known biopsy-proven malignancy (cancer)||Biopsy confirms presence of cancer before treatment begins|