Women who have their mammogram at Hilton Head HOspital or Bluffton-Okatie Outpatient Center benefit from an advance in technology – digital mammography. The new machine may look like the older film mammography machines, but the images produced are very different.
A screening mammogram is an X-ray examination of the breast in a woman who has no breast complaints. The goal is to find the cancer in an earlier, more treatable stage. A screening mammogram takes two X-ray pictures of each breast.
Mammography is the best tool available at this time for detecting breast cancer in its earlier, more treatable stages. While mammograms have limitations, it remains a valuable tool in the fight against breast cancer.
Hilton Head Hospital offers the Woman’s Touch MammoPad breast cushion that was designed to help make mammograms less uncomfortable for women. The soft, foam cushion is placed on the mammography machine to provide a warm cushion for the breast during compression.
The American Cancer Society recommends that most women begin receiving annual screening mammograms at age 40. In addition to screening mammograms, women should perform a breast self examination monthly beginning in their 20s.
Women in their 20s and 30s should receive a clinical breast exam by a health care professional every three years. After age 40, women should have an annual clinical breast exam.
Tips for Having a Good Quality Mammogram
- Find out if the mammogram facility is FDA-certified and accredited by the American College of Radiology. These organizations help ensure that the facility meets high standards.
- On the day of the examination, do not wear deodorant which may interfere with the mammogram by appearing on the X-ray film as calcium spots.
- If your breasts are tender the week before your period, you should avoid mammograms at this time. The best time to have a mammogram is one week after your period.
- Describe any breast symptoms or problems that you are having to the technologist who performs the mammogram. You should also be prepared to discuss any pertinent history including previous surgeries, hormone use, family or personal history of breast cancer.
The mammography units at Hilton Head Regional Medical Center and at the Bluffton-Okatie Outpatient Center are accredited by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and by the American College of Radiology.