We’re committed to helping you lead a cancer-free life.
Our team of experts is on your side. Early diagnosis is your best defense against breast cancer. Eighty percent of women diagnosed have no risk factors other than being female, so following recommend screening guidelines is important.
If you’re looking for information on breast cancer and treatment options, the latest recommendations for self-exam and mammograms, research on prevention, managing the emotional aspects of a diagnosis and more, we have the resources you need.
Your risk for developing breast cancer increases as you age, and can be affected by:
- Your family history
- Previous breast cancer experience
- Radiation therapy to your chest area
- Having no children or having your first child after age 30
- Early menstruation (before age 12)
- Late menopause (after age 50)
- Consuming two or more alcoholic drinks each day
If you have an increased risk, talk with your physician about the benefits and limitations of adding MRI screening to your yearly mammogram. If you’d like more information about your specific risk, consider genetic counseling.
Already diagnosed? Consultations with a registered nurse or licensed breast navigator are available by appointment, either on the phone or in person.
Breast Care - Early Detection Guidelines
The American College of Radiology recommends annual mammograms for women aged 40 and older.
Clinical Breast Exam (CBE)
Starting at age 20, women should have a clinical breast exam by a health professional every three years. Starting at age 40, women should have a CBE by a health professional annually.
Breast Self-Examination (BSE)
Regular breast self-examinations are recommended for women starting in their 20s. Ask your doctor about the benefits and limitations of BSE. Report any breast changes to your health professional right away. If you have questions about how to do breast self-exam, call any one of our women's services locations.
Because mammography is a preventative screening, it’s covered by most insurance companies. The exam itself is a low-dose X-ray of your breast. The radiation risk -comparable to spending four hours in the sun - is minimal compared to the risk of death from not detecting breast cancer early.
Female radiological technologists who have received specialized training and certification perform mammogram exams and breast ultrasounds. They also assist board-certified breast radiologists with ultrasound and stereotactic biopsies.
During your mammogram, you’ll stand in front of a mammography machine. One breast will be placed on the X-ray plate. In order to position your breast for optimal imaging, the technologist may examine and/or palpate your breast before placing it on the plate. An adhesive marker will be applied to any moles, scars or other spots that might interfere with the breast image.
A separate flat plate, often made of plastic, will be brought down on top of the breast to compress it gently against the X-ray plate. The technologist compresses your breast to decrease motion and to make the layer of breast tissue thinner. This allows for reduced X-ray exposure and sharpens the image. A minimum of two pictures from different angles will be taken of each breast. This requires the repositioning of your breast between images.
Your latest mammogram images will be carefully compared to those from any past exams. The radiologist will send a report about your mammogram to your physician, and will notify you of the results by mail.
If you’re at an increased risk of developing breast cancer, you may be eligible for a screening breast MRI in addition to your routine screening mammogram.
Concerned you can't afford a mammogram? Help is available for qualified applicants through a number of programs:
The CoxHealth Breast Care Clinic is fully accredited by the American College of Radiology and the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), and is the only facility in southwest Missouri recognized by both organizations as a Breast Center of Excellence.