Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Mammograms are an important piece of a three part breast health approach. The first is doing self breast exams every month. The second is having a regular clinical breast exam by your health care provider. The third piece is a mammogram. To receive a mammogram at the Charleston Breast Center, your doctor must give you an order.
A mammogram is an x-ray exam of the breast. It is used to detect and evaluate breast changes. Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system to examine breasts. Mammograms make it possible to detect tumors that cannot be felt. They can also find microcalcifications (tiny deposits of calcium in the breast) that sometimes indicate the presence of breast cancer.
The Charleston Breast Center utilizes digital mammography. This type of mammography is best for visualizing lumps or microcalcifications in a dense (non-fatty) breast. We also utilize computer aided detection (CAD) which is computer software that searches for abnormal areas of density, mass, or calcifications on the images which may indicate the presence of cancer. The CAD system highlights these areas on the images, alerting the radiologist to the need for further analysis.
A screening mammogram is an x-ray exam of the breast on a woman who has no signs or symptoms of a problem. The goal of a screening mammogram is to find cancer when it is still too small to be felt by a woman or her doctor. Finding small breast cancers early by a screening mammogram greatly improves a woman’s chance for successful treatment. A screening mammogram usually takes 2 x-ray pictures (views) of each breast. Some patients may need more pictures to get as much breast tissue as possible.
In women who have breast symptoms (problems such as a lump, pain, or nipple discharge) a diagnostic mammogram is necessary. These are also done on patients who have a suspicious change seen on a screening mammogram.
Some diagnostic mammogram results will be questioned by the radiologist. They may order more tests based upon what they see on your mammogram. The extra tests could be breast ultrasounds, ultrasound biopsies, stereotactic biopsies or a breast MRI. All of these extra tests you are able to obtain at the center.
All procedures done at the CBC require an order or referral from your primary care physician or GYN. Please have your order available when you call to set up your appointment. Exams cannot be performed without a current order in our office. Orders expire after six months. If your order has expired please contact your referring physician. If we do not have an order for your appointment you may be rescheduled. If you are experiencing any problems (i.e. breast pain, thickening, nipple discharge, nodules, etc.) please contact your referring doctor prior to scheduling. See type of mammogram need on the Breast Services page.
You can call us at (843) 416-6067 to request an appointment.
You will need to bring to your appointment the following: photo id, insurance cards, physician order, prior mammogram films and the patient information forms. Go to the Patient Information page, then print and complete the patient information forms if able. If you cannot print these forms and fill them out prior to your appointment please arrive 20 minutes early.
If you need to request your films from our facility please print out the film request form on the Patient Information page. You can fax or mail the release back and the requests will be processed within 48 hours. You can also call our office to make arrangements for film pickup.
Most insurance companies will pay yearly for screening mammography after the age of 40. For diagnostic mammography or the other breast imaging tests, you may be subject to a co-pay and/or deductible. If you have any questions, please check with your insurance carrier or talk with our financial counselor.
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