October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign aimed at increasing awareness and early detection. A mammogram is the gold standard in the detection of breast cancer, when it is in its earliest and most treatable stage. Annual mammograms are recommended for all women beginning at age 40.
What Happens During a Mammogram
When you come to the Association of Alexandria Radiologists, we’ll do all we can to make the experience more comfortable, convenient and efficient. Your mammogram will be performed by a female mammography-certified technologist. Before the procedure, your technologist will ask you some questions about your medical history and she’ll also answer any questions you may have. You’ll change into a gown and remove all jewelry, which can interfere with the clarity of x-ray images. The technologist will position your breast onto special plates, which will compress the breast tissue so an x-ray image can be taken. The compression may cause some momentary discomfort, but it is essential because allows for the greatest amount of breast tissue to be visible in the mammogram image. The technologist will then follow the same procedure with the other breast.
Advanced 3D Digital Breast Mammography
This new technology gives radiologists the ability to view inside the breast layer by layer, seeing breast structure and detail much more clearly. It has been proven to increase screening accuracy and decrease the number of women who are unnecessarily called back due to false positives. AAR women’s imaging specialists recommend 3D mammography for all women, regardless of breast tissue type, history of breast cancer or personal risk factors.
Insurance Coverage for Mammograms
An annual mammogram is covered in full by insurance providers and Medicare. 3D mammography is an optional add-on to the traditional mammogram as an additional cost. While this new technology is not yet covered by most insurance plans, it is an eligible expense through Health Savings Accounts (HSA) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA).
Make Your Appointment
If you haven’t had your mammogram yet this year, it’s time to make your appointment. Even if you’ve had regular mammograms in the past, it’s important to continue to have an annual mammogram to check for breast changes. To schedule your appointment at one of our convenient locations, please call our scheduling team at 703-824-3260, or you may request an appointment online.