Breast Cancer Detection

Self-Exams and Mammograms

Breast Cancer Risk Assessment

The National Cancer Institute provides an online tool to help you figure out your risk of breast cancer.

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According to the American Cancer Society, early screening saves lives. Mammograms are the most effective and important early detection method.

Guidelines for early detection:

  • All women: monthly breast self-exam
  • Women age 20 and older: clinical breast exam at annual physical
  • Women age 40 and older: yearly mammogram and clinical breast exam
  • Women at high risk for breast cancer: yearly MRI and mammogram

Types of Breast Cancer Screenings

Breast self-examBreast self-exam

A monthly breast self-examination should include both a visual inspection and a manual inspection while standing, lying down and reclining.

Pick a time of the month that's easy to remember and perform your self-examination at that time. The breast has normal patterns of thickness and lumpiness that change within a monthly period, and a consistently scheduled examination will help differentiate between what is normal from abnormal.

A monthly breast self-exam should not replace the annual examination done by a health professional. Breast awareness may be as helpful as formal self exams as long as women who notice a breast abnormality obtain a professional evaluation promptly.

Screening mammogramScreening mammogram

What Does the Doctor Look
for on My Mammogram?

A diagnostic  radiologist answers common questions you may have about mammograms.

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A screening mammogram is used to detect breast changes in women who have no breast symptoms, such as pain, lumps or discharge. When interpreting a screening mammogram, the experienced radiologists on our medical staff look for densities as well as calcifications that can be early indicators of breast cancer. They will also look for cysts and solid nodules in the breast tissue.

Screening mammograms are generally quick, with the entire procedure taking 30 minutes on average. Patients with a history of breast cancer need to be cleared by the radiologist to have screening mammograms.

We employ Computer-Assisted Detection (CAD) technology as a second set of eyes reviewing the mammogram to aid the radiologist in identifying microcalcifications and masses.

Diagnostic mammogramDiagnostic mammogram

A diagnostic mammogram is ordered if symptoms such as identified nodule/lump, pain, thickening, nipple discharge or change in breast size or shape are present. If a problem is identified on a screening mammogram, your physician will typically order a diagnostic mammogram.

Diagnostic mammograms take longer because of the need for additional images, precise positioning, consultation and possible ultrasound. We employ Computer-Assisted Detection (CAD) technology as a second set of eyes reviewing the mammogram to aid the radiologist in identifying microcalcifications and masses.

Schedule a Mammogram

If you have an established Baylor Scott & White Health primary care provider, you may self-schedule a mammogram; your results will be sent to your provider for review. If you do not have a current primary care provider at Baylor Scott & White Health, you will need a referral from your provider.

All the locations below offer screening mammography. Those indicated with * also offer diagnostic mammography.

Tips for Your Appointment

Here are some tips to make your mammography experience go as smoothly as possible:

  • Dress comfortably in a two-piece outfit, as you will be asked to undress from the waist up for your mammogram
  • Refrain from wearing any deodorant, powders, lotions, ointments or creams as these can affect the quality of your mammogram
  • Avoid, if possible, scheduling your mammogram right before or during your menstrual period
  • Tell the technologists if you have breast implants

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