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Breast Cancer Screening

Mammogram Screening Guidelines

Our Breast Health physicians have reviewed clinical data about the effectiveness of mammogram screening.

We recommend women follow the current National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines below. Mammography has proven to save lives through early detection.

  • Screening mammogram beginning at age 40 for all women
  • An annual clinical breast exam by a doctor
  • Monthly breast self exams
  • Specific mammogram screening guidelines can be discussed with your OhioHealth physician

Women should talk to their doctors about the screening that is right for their individual needs. Women at high risk for breast cancer may need more frequent or earlier mammogram screening.

Preparing for Your Mammogram at OhioHealth 

Mammograms at OhioHealth are quick and easy. For most women, the entire appointment takes less than 30 minutes.

In consideration of your comfort, most of our locations offer a locker for your belongings and a comfortable robe and slippers. When scheduling your appointment, ask if your location offers these amenities.

Preparing for your mammogram procedure does not involve anything out of the ordinary. You can eat normally, and if you take medications, continue to do so.

You will be asked not to wear deodorant on the day of your mammogram because such products may show up on mammogram images. Also, if you are pre-menopausal, it's best to schedule your screening exam during the week following your menstrual period, when your breasts may be less tender.

What to Expect during Your Mammogram

An OhioHealth mammography technologist with specialized training in mammographic positioning and techniques will perform your mammogram.

  • You'll be asked to stand in front of the mammography unit, a special type of digital X-ray machine.
  • Your technologist will position your breast between two firm surfaces that compress your breast as flat as possible, to ensure good X-ray pictures. This may be uncomfortable but shouldn't hurt.
  • Compression usually lasts no more than 20 to 30 seconds. During this time, an X-ray beam comes from above and penetrates your breast tissue. The X-ray image is recorded digitally and stored in a computer.

Based on what your radiologist sees on your mammogram, you may be asked to return for a diagnostic mammogram. It's not unusual to be called back after a screening mammogram. This is because your radiologist may not have any previous comparison or may need to look more carefully at a specific area of the breast.

Most findings are not cancer, but it's important to have the additional imaging done. This may include specialized and tightly focused X-ray pictures, known as a magnification or compression view, or possibly a breast ultrasound.

Breast Cancer Second Opinion Clinic

Offering guidance and peace-of-mind  

The Breast Cancer Second Opinion Clinic provides a comprehensive consultation with all the experts, giving you the tools you need to reduce your anxiety, increase your comfort level and feel confident about your own personal treatment plan.

Supported by the OhioHealth Foundation and the only one of its kind in central Ohio, the Breast Cancer Second Opinion Clinic is staffed by an all-volunteer, multi-disciplinary team that includes a radiologist, pathologist, general surgeon, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, plastic surgeon, fertility specialist, genetic counselor and breast health nurse.

Service provided by the Breast Cancer Second Opinion Clinic comes at no charge to you and includes:

  • An examination by a breast cancer physician
  • An extensive case review and treatment recommendation by a multi-disciplinary team of research and treatment specialists
  • A final recommendation that is shared with you and your primary care physician

To learn more about OhioHealth's free Breast Cancer Second Opinion Clinic, please call (614) 566.4321 or 1 (800) 752.9119.

About the OhioHealth High Risk Breast Cancer Clinic

The OhioHealth High Risk Breast Cancer Clinic helps women understand and manage their breast cancer risk. The High Risk Breast Cancer Clinic is located in central Ohio, and includes:

  • On-going cancer surveillance for high-risk women.
  • Enhanced, high risk breast cancer screening options to help detect problems early.
  • State-of-the-art digital mammography screening, ultrasound and MRI technology.
  • Support from the OhioHealth Breast Health program combined with the expertise of the OhioHealth Cancer Genetics Program.
  • An evaluation of personal and/or family history of cancer and how it may impact medical management.

What Is "High Risk Breast Cancer"?

You may be at higher risk of developing breast cancer if:

  • You have a family member who was diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50.
  • You have several family members who were diagnosed with breast cancer and/or ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancer.
  • You or someone in your family tested positive for a known breast cancer mutation such as BRCA 1 or 2, or PTEN (Cowden's Syndrome).
  • You have had atypical cells detected during a breast biopsy.
  • You had chest mantle radiation for lymphoma.
  • You have a previous history of breast cancer. 
  • You have a male relative with breast cancer.
  • You are of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.

If you have one or more of these high risk breast cancer indicators, talk with your physician. Ask if a referral to the OhioHealth High Risk Breast Cancer Clinic is right for you.

What you can expect at the OhioHealth High Risk Breast Cancer Clinic

  • One location for imaging, clinical breast exams and consultation in our comfortable Breast Health Center.
  • Your mammogram will be reviewed by a radiologist and our state-of-the-art, computer- aided detection system (CAD).
  • The radiologist and clinic surgeon will consult about your mammogram.
  • A surgeon experienced in the care of breast cancer will examine your breasts and the area around them for lumps or other changes.
  • Our Cancer Risk nurse will review your risk factors, current medical management and answer any questions.
  • Based on your history, the Cancer Risk nurse may recommend genetic counseling, research protocols or other services.
  • Our Breast Health nurse will provide instruction on breast self-exams and education on other preventative measures and lifestyle changes.
  • Your referring physician will receive information about your mammogram results, medical management recommendations, and any other details of your visit.

Get a Lifesaving Mammogram Today 

To schedule your mammogram at a convenient OhioHealth location in the Columbus region, call (614) 566.1111. We have 14 all-digital mammography centers in and around central Ohio.

Scheduling and Insurance for the High Risk Breast Cancer Clinic  

Your physician can refer you to the High Risk Breast Cancer Clinic for a screening, or you may call (614) 566.4321.

You are encouraged to check with your health insurance plan to determine coverage for these services. Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) must be pre-certified.

Financial Assistance Options

At OhioHealth, women with limited financial resources or medical insurance coverage can obtain at no cost:

  • Screening mammogram - women age 40 and over
  • Diagnostic mammogram
  • Breast ultrasound

Financial assistance is provided through grant funding from the American Cancer Society, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and The National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Grant funds are limited. However, you may also qualify for assistance through the OhioHealth Financial Assistance/Charity Care program.

To schedule a mammogram procedure at any of OhioHealth's mammography centers, call (614) 566.1111, and ask about financial assistance options.

Find a Location for Your Mammogram

Did you know an annual mammogram starting at age 40 can lead to early detection? No prescription or doctor's referral is needed. Schedule your mammogram today at (614) 566.1111. 

We have 14 all-digital mammography centers in and around central Ohio. Find a location that's convenient for you.

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“ patients have a special place in my heart. If I can do anything to help support a patient through this journey, then I want to make myself available to them.” - Nancy Vedder, BSN, RN, CBCN

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