October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Altru Health System wants to remind the women in the area about breast cancer screening and when this is indicated. The Following are guidelines and recommendation set down by the American Cancer Society.
Why Get Screened?
Numerous studies have clearly shown that getting a mammogram and a breast exam reduces the risk of dying from breast cancer. Breast cancers found during a mammogram are more likely to be smaller and still confined to the breast. Finding breast cancer early (called early detection) can improve the chances that breast cancer can be treated successfully and with more treatment options, less extensive surgery, and ultimately, better treatment outcomes.
Who Should Get Screened?
The American Cancer Society’s current Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines recommend:
- Yearly mammograms at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health
- Breast exam about every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over
- All women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and should report ANY breast change promptly to their doctor or nurse. Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s.
Altru's Breast Center is a comprehensive breast health facility which serves both patients and their families by providing advanced technology, education and support. The Center staffs a team of professionals who perform and interpret breast imaging studies, as well as meet with patients in a clinical setting. Additionally, Altru’s Breast Center works in close collaboration with Altru’s Surgical Department and Altru Cancer Center and will provide necessary referrals.
Altru’s Breast Center offers and coordinates a broad spectrum of services including:
- Digital mammography (screening as well as diagnostic mammograms)
- Breast ultrasound
- Breast MRI
- Stereotactic, ultrasound and MRI-guided biopsy
- Cyst aspiration
- Sentinel lymph node mapping
- Clinical breast examinations
- Breast cancer awareness and education
- Genetic risk assessment and screening
- Referral for genetic counseling and testing
- Referral for lymphedema education and treatment
- Referral for surgical consultation as well as oncology consultation.
Genetic counseling and testing is available at the Sanny and Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention and Genetics at Choice Health & Fitness.
Altru’s mammography facility is certified by the FDA and has received accreditation from the American College of Radiology meeting MQSA standards. All mammography offered at Altru is digital, meaning you receive the most advanced technology and highest quality of care in the early detection of breast cancer.
Your mammogram will include:
- An assessment of your breast cancer risk, including your personal, family and medical history
- Following interpretation of your mammogram by a radiologist, a written report will be sent to your primary care provider
- As well as a letter sent to you with your mammogram results including follow-up recommendations.
To schedule your mammogram, call 701.780.6157.
Ultrasound is a very useful tool in the early detection of breast cancer and is often used to help interpret a mammogram or help in the evaluation of a breast lump or finding on physical examination. Most often it is used to help determine cystic (or fluid filled) masses from solid masses. Altru’s ultrasound department works in close collaboration with the breast center physicians and mammography technologists.
Altru’s Breast Center offers a 1.5 Tesla magnet and dedicated breast coil, which is used to obtain images of the breasts after the patient receives an intravenous contrast injection. Based on a patient’s personal and family history, breast MRI may be recommended in select patients where it is used as an adjunct screening tool to mammography for the early detection of breast cancer. Additionally, in a select group of patients, as determined by a physician, MRI may also be used as a diagnostic or problem-solving test.
Breast Biopsy and Aspiration
Altru's Breast Center routinely performs hundreds of image guided biopsy procedures annually. The Center routinely performs stereotactic, ultrasound and MRI guided biopsies to aid in the detection and diagnosis of both benign (non-cancerous) breast findings and breast cancer.
What to expect during a breast biopsy?
- Patients will want to arrive to Altru’s Breast Center in loose and comfortable clothing. While it is always welcome and may be comforting to have a loved one or friend accompany you to and from a breast procedure, it is not necessary. In fact, the majority of the patients come to their procedure appointment alone.
- First and foremost, our goal is to keep our patients comfortable and relaxed throughout the biopsy procedure. Patients will be accompanied throughout the procedure by one of our skilled professional staff.
- Prior to undergoing a biopsy, the patient will meet with the performing physician to discuss the procedure and answer any questions that they may have with regards to the procedure.
- A breast biopsy is performed using a sterile technique and local numbing anesthesia. The biopsy equipment is guided to the correct location by using either mammogram (stereotactic) images, ultrasound or MRI. Once the appropriate position is determined, multiple samples are taken through a single small skin nick or incision. Typically, a tiny biopsy clip or marker is placed at the site where the biopsy was performed. The marker is used to identify where samples were taken from and, in the event that more tissue needs to be removed, the clip would then mark the area for additional removal. Follow up mammogram images are often performed so that the performing physician can see the biopsy site and the clip. The patients are sent home with both verbal and detailed written instructions as to how to care for the biopsy site.
- Biopsy samples are evaluated by a pathologist at Altru, and patients can expect to receive results directly within two to three business days.
Altru's Breast Center is located in the lower lever of Altru Main Clinic. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call:
- 701.780.6732 | Breast Center
- 701.780.6157 | Mammogram Scheduling
- 701.780.6157 | Stereotactic Breast Biopsy