SCRMCBreast Center FAQ

Breast Health FAQ

Mammography & Breast Cancer Prevention in St. Croix

You should not live your life in fear of breast cancer, but you should be aware of the risks and what you can do to prevent it or have it diagnosed in the early stages. Mammography is one of the best screening tools we currently have to catch breast cancer in its earliest stages. Here you will find some answers to frequently asked questions about breast care, mammography, and breast cancer.

Is Breast Cancer Common?

Aside from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in women in the United States. About 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

This statistic can be scary, but there are many things you can do to maintain good health and detect breast cancer in the early stages!

What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray that allows doctors to examine breast tissue. The exam is painless and noninvasive- no needles or cutting is necessary.

During the test, the breast is squeezed between two metal plates that take an x-ray. The doctor then examines these images for cysts and other abnormalities that could be a sign of breast cancer. If they find something suspicious, they may order a biopsy.

What is a biopsy?

A breast biopsy is a procedure where a sample of breast tissue is taken from the body so that it can be more closely examined for signs of breast cancer. Most biopsies are performed by injecting a needle into the breast to extract the tissue. While the injection can be uncomfortable, the test is an otherwise safe and noninvasive procedure.

How often should I receive a mammogram?

The American Cancer Society recommends women receive their first mammogram between the ages of 40 and 44. You should schedule an annual mammogram from ages 45 to 55, and then one every 2 years after age 55 if you do not have any significant breast cancer risk.

If you have a family history or breast cancer, or if you have been diagnosed with another type of cancer in some point in your life, you may need to undergo a mammogram more often.

Can I check for signs of breast cancer at home?

Yes, but a self-examination is not a replacement for a mammogram. However, knowing what your breasts look and feel like will help you identify abnormalities you should have examined by your doctor.

Self-breast exams should be done once a month. You can do it in the shower, while lying down, or standing in front of the mirror. Be sure to feel all around each breast for any lumps or signs of dimpling.

Is there anything I can do to prevent breast cancer?

There is no surefire way to prevent breast cancer, but maintaining overall health and wellness can lower your risk. Exercising 30 minutes a day, eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, and only drinking alcohol in moderation are good standard practices. It is recommended that women only have one alcoholic drink per day.

To make an appointment or learn more about our breast health services, call (800) 828-3627 or contact us online to make an appointment.