Technologists who perform the mammograms at Inter-Lakes Health are, from left, Jennifer Cigana, Heather Mattison and Hillary Price. Together they have 17 years mammography experience.
Deaths from breast cancer in the United States have declined 33 percent since 1990. Much of that success can be attributed to increased use of mammography, according to the American Center Society.
A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast. Mammograms can be used to check for breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. Screening mammograms usually involve two x-ray images of each breast. The x-ray images make it possible to detect tumors that cannot be felt.
Mammograms can also be used to check for breast cancer after a lump or other sign or symptom of the disease has been found. This type of mammogram is called a diagnostic mammogram.
Mammography services are available in Ticonderoga at Inter-Lakes Health.
“Our mammography department performs digital screening and diagnostic mammograms as well as breast ultrasounds,” said Heather Mattison, radiologic technologist and mammography manager at Inter-Lakes Health. “We do approximately 600 mammograms a year.”
Early detection of breast cancer with screening mammography means that treatment can be started earlier in the course of the disease, possibly before it has spread. Results from clinical trials and other studies show that screening mammography can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer among women ages 40 to 70, especially for those over age 50.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Mattison said there are important benefits to mammography. She said people should know:
— all women can get breast cancer, even those who have no family history of the disease;
— the two most important risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman and growing older;
— women diagnosed with breast cancer early, when the cancer is small and has not spread, have a high chance of surviving it. Getting a mammogram is the best thing a woman can do to help find breast cancer early. Women who notice any breast changes should tell their doctor without delay;
— women can help reduce their chances of having breast cancer by doing regular physical activity, keeping a healthy weight and limiting the amount of alcohol they drink; and
— through early detection and improved treatments, more women than ever are surviving breast cancer.
Mammograms are available at Inter-Lakes Health Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday 1 to 3 p.m., Thursday 1 to 3 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Diagnostic mammograms are scheduled when a radiologist is on site , Thursdays 8:30 to 11 a.m.
Technologists who perform the mammograms are Mattison, Hillary Price and Jennifer Cigana. Together they have 17 years mammography experience.
The Inter-Lakes Health mammograms are read by Adirondack Radiology Associates of Glens Falls
“Patients should have a CBE (clinical breast exam) performed by their provider prior to having a mammogram,” Mattison said. “After the CBE the provider will write them an order for either a screening or a diagnostic exam depending on whether or not they feel anything on the breast exam.”
Besides a lump, signs of breast cancer can include breast pain, thickening of the skin of the breast, nipple discharge or a change in breast size or shape — however, these signs may also be signs of benign conditions, according to the American Cancer Society.