1. If you are over 40, consider geting a mammogram. Early detection of breast cancer offers the best chance for a cure. Several groups have guidelines about screening mammograms, including the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Preventive ServicesTask Force and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Each of these groups suggests a different timeline for testing. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the Hutch’s clinical care partner, supports the American Cancer Society’s statement that women should have the opportunity to start yearly screening mammograms at age 40.
2. Where you go matters – choose a mammography expert. Many studies show that doctors who specialize in mammography are more accurate at interpreting the images when compared to physicians with less experience. Get your mammogram read by a doctor who specializes in reading them. The American College of Radiology offers an online search for accredited facilities and “Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence” such as the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
3. Go “tomo.” Digital breast tomosynthesis, or “3D mammography,” uses X-rays to create a stack of thin images of breast tissue that helps radiologists better see both normal breast tissue and breast cancers. SCCA offers digital breast tomosynthesis exams at all of its breast imaging locations.