FAQ

What are the office hours?

Our regular office hours are from 8:00AM – 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

Do I need to bring anything special to my first visit?

Please bring a photo ID, Insurance Card, and a list of any medications you are taking. Also, any forms or test results you have been provided, such as X-rays.

What can I expect at my first appointment?

Our registration staff will ask you to fill out a health history form. These questions are the initial part of the examination and provide us with essential information about you and your medical history. Your address, e-mail and phone number are very important in case we need to get in touch with you. Information concerning your occupation, age, etc., is likewise important because it may have a bearing on your current health status. Additionally, this information is required by insurance networks to insure payment reimbursement. All information given to us is confidential. Please arrive 10 minutes early to complete paperwork.

What will my co-pay or balance be at the time of my appointment?

Your insurance company can provide you with your contracted co-pay information. Our registration staff will collect your co-pay and any balance due according to your insurance benefits.

What should I do if I miss my appointment?

We ask that you call our office during regular office hours (8 AM – 5 PM Monday through Friday) to reschedule.

What is the difference between a screening and a diagnostic mammogram?

Women over 40 are highly encouraged to have annual screening mammograms. Screening mammography is simply an x-ray of the breast to search out signs of cancer. They are performed on women who show no signs or symptoms of change within their breast, with the primary goal of identifying breast cancer as early as possible. Generally there are only two pictures taken on each breast. If you have larger breasts additional images may be necessary to capture views of all the breast tissue.

Why is a diagnostic mammogram necessary?

On occasion, after a screening mammogram, there is a recommendation by the radiologist for a diagnostic mammogram. When an area is found abnormal or difficult to determine, additional views, magnified views, and or spot images are performed to offer more detail. The radiologist then has a more complete view of the area of concern and is able to offer a more accurate diagnosis. Breast ultrasound often accompanies the request for diagnostic mammogram.

Is my mammogram covered by insurance?

Wellness is important and insurance companies recognize the benefit of early preventative medicine. Most insurance companies consider screening mammograms as medically necessary and cover the cost of this diagnostic study in full. As always, if in doubt, call your insurance carrier and ask what your benefits cover.

Who is most likely to get breast cancer?

Breast Cancer occurs most often in women over 40, and this risk increases with age. One in eight women has a chance of getting breast cancer after the age of 70. It is notable that women between the ages of 20 and 30 have been found to have breast cancer, so early detection and regular breast self-exams are important.

At what age should I get my first mammogram?

Women over 50 definitely should have annual mammograms. There has been some controversy whether women between 40-49 should have annual mammograms. Why? The younger age group tends to have denser breast tissue which looks very similar to cancer tissue and so, is harder to distinguish. With menopause this dense tissue is replaced by fatty issue and cancers are much easier to see, leading to more accurate diagnosis.

Are mammograms painful?

Mammograms require compressing the breast for a very brief time period, which can sometimes cause slight discomfort. Scheduling your mammogram a week after your menstrual cycle when your breasts are less tender is often helpful.

What are some risk factors that increase breast cancer?

Some risk factors cannot be controlled such as having a breast cancer gene, starting menstruation before 12, not having children, becoming pregnant after 30, or early onset on menopause. Risk factors that can be controlled are the avoidance of postmenopausal estrogen, being physically active, and stopping smoking. High-fat diets are also known to increase the risk because fat triggers estrogen production that can fuel tumor growth and increase chances of getting breast cancer by 30-60%.

Can breast cancer be prevented?

There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer. There are studies where doses of tamoxifen and raloxifene given to women with higher than average risk will help reduce their risk of developing cancer, but these medicines come with side effects. For women with extremely high risk of breast cancer, preventive mastectomy may be a consideration.

Is breast cancer inherited?

If a woman’s mother, grandmother, aunts, or sisters developed breast cancer before menopause, she may have a greater chance of getting breast cancer than a woman with no family history. About 30% of women who develop breast cancer have a family history; the other 70% have no know family history yet still develop breast cancer.

Can breast cancer be cured?

Many women with breast cancer, successfully treated, never experience breast cancer again. However, women with a history of breast cancer are at risk for recurrence or a second primary breast cancer. Regular mammograms are essential.

Is it possible to diagnose cancer without a biopsy?

A biopsy is the only way to be sure a lump is not cancer. A simple exam can only determine if the lump is ‘suspicious’ but not if it is cancer.

What is a breast biopsy?

If a lump or significant change is found on your mammogram, the reading radiologist my request the patient have the area biopsied. This procedure will be performed by a surgeon either in his office or in a surgery center. The surgical site will first be made numb, than a small tissue sample will be extracted and sent to pathology for review. Although the procedure may be a bit frightening, it is good to remember that a vast majority of biopsies do not turn out to be cancer. Unfortunately, a biopsy is currently the only way to achieve an accurate diagnosis of a suspicious abnormality.

When and why would I need a Breast MRI?

Patients with a very dense breast tissue may benefit from additional test outside of just mammography. Primarily used as a supplemental tool to mammography and/or breast ultrasound, MRI imaging may be used to screen women at higher risk for cancer, further evaluate an abnormality found during mammography, or be used to evaluate the extent of a cancer diagnosis.

Should I get a mammogram if I have implants?

Yes! It is important have regular screenings and to let the technologist know you have implants. The x-rays used for mammography cannot go through silicone or saline implants to show the breast tissue beneath, so additional pictures are necessary. It is very rare that mammography can rupture an implant.

If I have had a lumpectomy or mastectomy, do I still need to get a mammogram?

There are many different kinds of breast cancer surgery and the type of surgery a patient has will determine the need for any future scans. Breast conserving surgery or lumpectomies require regular exams into the future. If only one breast required a procedure, the other still requires attention! If you have had a double mastectomy, mammography is not necessary as there is not enough tissue to complete the exam. Skin-sparing mastectomies, because the nipple and tissue just under the skin are kept intact, enough tissue remains to allow for future scanning. Mammography post-surgery are generally not completed until healing has occurred and will serve as a baseline for the patient going forward.

Should I be tested for “the breast cancer gene”?

The BRCA gene test determines whether or not you inherited a mutation to that specific gene. It is a simple blood test that uses DNA analysis to identify harmful changes to either of the two BRCA genes. This gene mutation is responsible for about 5-10% of breast cancers but significantly increases your risk of developing breast cancer. If you have a personal history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer, have a male relative with breast cancer, or a personal history of breast cancer in one or more of your relatives you might be at an increased risk of having the BRCA gene and benefit from testing.