Mammography is a type of imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system to examine breast tissue. A mammography exam – also called a mammogram – can be used to aid the diagnosis of breast diseases in women. Recent enhancements to traditional mammography include digital mammography and computer-aided detection.
Digital mammography – an image of the breast captured electronically and viewed on a computer screen – can be particularly effective at detecting breast cancer, especially in younger women and those with denser breast tissue.
In addition to two-dimensional mammography, one of the latest innovations in women’s health care is 3D breast mammography.
Women often tend to put their own well-being on hold while they care for their families. Unfortunately, breast cancer is not something a person can put on hold, and it can have a significant and lasting impact if not detected and treated early. But a 15-minute digital mammogram can help offer peace of mind and a whole lifetime to spend with loved ones.
The greatest risk factors for breast cancer are uncontrollable – age and gender. Women have the highest risk, and their risk increases with age. Risk also doubles if a woman’s immediate relative – mother, sister or daughter – has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
When breast cancer is found in its early stages, breast tissue can often be conserved through minimally invasive surgery called lumpectomy. Cancer can also be more responsive to treatment during early stages.
American Cancer Society continues to stress the importance of self-examination and yearly mammograms for women 40 years of age and older. Despite breast cancer rates of one in eight among women in the United States, deaths related to breast cancer have been decreasing since 1990 due to increased awareness, advances in treatment and early detection through tools like digital mammography.
Most insurance plans cover annual screening mammograms.
Self-pay options are also available. Financial assistance may be offered based on income.
And programs like Project ABC are designed to make screening mammograms available to all women, regardless of income. Women can contact their local health department for more information about Project ABC, which is a partnership between the Tri-Cities affiliate of
Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Wellmont and local health departments.
This includes the addition of MRI breast coil technology at Holston Valley Medical Center and Bristol Regional Medical Center and updated computer-assisted detection devices at Wellmont facilities.
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Tim Cox was familiar with the Wellmont Cancer Institute, but nothing could have prepared him for the news he received last summer – or the journey he faced.
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