Quad Cities, IL/IA

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Use Your Power to Choose! Choose Annual Mammography at age 40


By KD Flick, Physician Liaison, Genesis Imaging Centers

You have the power to choose annual screening even though your provider may philosophically believe differently. If your family physician is a member of The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), it’s likely he or she follows the AAFP directive that women who are aged 50 to 74 and considered to be of “average risk” for breast cancer “should be offered annual or biennial screening mammography.” If you are 40 to 49 years of age and your provider has not discussed mammography with you, ask to talk about breast health and screening. It’s important that your family history of breast and other cancers is discussed so you and your physician understand your risk of breast cancer (or for survivors, the potential for reoccurrence). Within the ongoing debate about when the “average woman” should be screened, Dr. Jeanne Mandelblatt (Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center) wisely reminds that, “…it’s important to remember that none of us is the ‘average’ woman.” The fact remains that you have the power to choose annual screening at age 40 despite the confusion among medical organizations. The sooner cancer is detected, the greater the chance for successful treatment and complete recovery.

Choose convenience — No order? No problem! 
No doctor’s order is required for an annual mammogram. At Genesis Imaging Centers and Genesis Health System, all you need to do is make a phone call to schedule an exam (In Iowa, call 563-421-XRAY (9729); Illinois: 309-281-5000). Your test results will automatically be sent to your doctor. Insurance companies and Medicare cover the cost for annual screening mammograms.

Choose the newest breast cancer detection tool in 30 years: 3D Mammography (Tomosynthesis)    
You now have the power to choose the most accurate mammography available. At the time of the USPST Force recommendation in 2009, 3D mammography was still under development by several manufacturers. In 2011, it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In those four years, 3D mammography has steadily flourished and is now found in hospitals and imaging centers throughout the world. It has been available for over a year at all three Iowa and Illinois outpatient imaging centers and within Genesis Health System.

What is 3D Mammography?

3D mammography is a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic tool designed for early breast cancer detection and can be done in conjunction with a traditional 2D digital mammogram. This clinically proven technology is the biggest breakthrough in breast cancer detection in 30 years. Here’s how it works:

The process of a 3D mammogram is the same as a conventional 2D exam. However, during the 3D part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple breast images. Then, a computer produces a 3D image of your breast tissue in one millimeter slices, providing greater visibility of breast detail than previously possible, enabling the radiologist to scroll through images of the entire breast, like flipping through pages of a book.

Increased detection; reduced “callbacks”

  • Several large studies have shown that 3D mammography detects up to 41 percent more invasive breast cancers.
  • It can reduce a woman’s chance that she’ll be called back for additional imaging or a biopsy.

Who should have a 3D Mammogram?

  • 3D mammography is approved for all women and all breast types. It is particularly effective for women with dense breast tissue or those at high risk for developing breast cancer.

Radiation Dose

  • The Imaging Centers uses the lowest radiation dose available for both 2D and 3D exams and is well within the FDA safety standards for mammography.

Cost & Insurance Coverage
Medicare covers the full cost of a 3D mammogram; some commercial insurers do not. Call your insurer to verify if the exam will be covered. If not, the cost of adding 3D imaging to a mammogram is just $60. This covers both the facility’s and the radiologist’s fees. Of course, you may always choose to have a traditional 2D mammogram.

Your breast health depends on your power to take action and make healthy lifestyle choices
First, know your family history and personal risk of breast cancer. Second, practice monthly self breast exams and know what’s normal for you. Third, and most importantly, get screened. If you are 40 or over, commit to annual screenings, preferably on or near your birthday so it’s easy to remember. Fourth, for the cost of a manicure and pedicure you can have a 3D mammogram — the biggest breakthrough in early invasive breast cancer detection in 30 years. Finally, you have the power to schedule an annual mammogram at your convenience.
With greater access to health information and leading-edge cancer technology, it’s become easier to take a more active role in preventive self-care. Adopting an attitude of personal empowerment by taking an active role in your breast health offers the best chance of surviving breast cancer.

Genesis Imaging Centers serves Davenport, Bettendorf, and Moline. For questions about mammography or more information, contact KD Flick, Physician Liaison, 563 421-5632.

Mammography Facts

1/3rd     Mammography has helped reduce breast cancer mortality in the U.S. by nearly one-third since 1990.

1 in 69     The ten-year risk for breast cancer in a 40 year old woman is 1 in 69.
1 in 6     1 in 6 breast cancers occur in women aged 40-49.
40%     Of all the years of life saved by mammography, 40 percent are for women in their 40’s.
3/4     ¾ of all women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease, and are not considered high risk.
30%     Even for women 50+, skipping a mammogram every other year would miss up to 30 percent of cancers.