Breast Cancer Screening
Women who undergo regular screening for breast cancer have greater odds of recovery than women who do not. Breast awareness and mammograms are the most common screening methods. Usually, women don’t need to be screened regularly in a doctor’s office until they reach age 40, but this can vary according to your family history or other risk factors.
Guidelines for women of average risk
At age 25, you should see your physician for a formal breast cancer risk assessment. If your physician concludes that your risk level is average:
- Between the ages of 25 and 40, you should have a clinical breast exam every 1-3 years and practice “breast awareness.” This means being familiar with your breasts so you’re able to recognize any changes.
- At age 40, you should begin yearly mammograms and annual clinical breast exams. Depending on your individual risk factors, you might also need magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in addition to your mammogram.
Guidelines for women with a family history of breast cancer
If you have any blood relatives with a history of breast cancer (this can include aunts, nieces, and even great-grandparents), you should:
- Begin yearly mammograms and clinical breast exams 10 years before the age at which cancer was diagnosed in your family member.
- Seek genetic counseling if you have a strong family history or a known inherited breast cancer gene.
- Ask your doctor about breast MRI with your mammograms.
Breast cancer screening at the Breast Health Center
If you choose the Joanne Knight Breast Health Center for your mammogram or breast cancer screening, your scans will be viewed by expert radiologists who only read breast images. This specialized knowledge allows them to catch things that other reviewers might not. Each radiologist on our staff is a Washington University Physician affiliated with the internationally-recognized Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology.
The technician who performs your mammogram will also be a specialist in mammography. Every radiology technologist on our staff has advanced certification in breast mammography and has undergone rigorous training in breast anatomy and physiology, positioning and compression, and imaging patients with breast implants.
Siteman provides all-digital breast imaging services, including:
- Screening mammography
- 3D mammography (tomosynthesis)
- Diagnostic mammograms
- Breast ultrasound
- Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Minimally invasive breast biopsy
All patients who come to the Breast Health Center are offered mammograms that use tomosynthesis, or 3D technology. This allows the technician to capture images of the breast from multiple angles. 3D imaging has reduced the call-back rate for additional scans by up to 40 percent because our technicians get all the views they need the first time.