Breast cancer is most treatable and curable when it is detected early. That’s why the American College of Radiology urges you to get a mammogram every year once you reach 40 years old. Depending on your family history, your risks and your physician’s findings, mammography may be recommended earlier or more frequently.
Doctors who specialize in mammography can interpret findings more accurately than physicians with less experience. Centers that specialize in digital and 3D mammography offer your best chance at early cancer detection. In fact, Spectrum Health Cancer Center was the first cancer center in West Michigan designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology (ACR).
Starting at age 20, monthly breast self-exams help you become familiar with what is normal for your breasts. If you find something abnormal, addressing it early increases the likelihood of a good outcome. Some warning signs to be aware of include a lump, mass or swelling in the breast, a change in the skin of the breast or nipple, fluid leaking from the nipple, breast or nipple pain or a lump in the underarm area. Finding a lump or change in your breast does not necessarily mean you have breast cancer. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor right away.
Some risk factors can be controlled and some cannot. A family history of breast cancer, genetic mutations and previous radiation treatments cannot be changed, but you can make lifestyle changes to prevent breast cancer by eliminating excess alcohol, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, watching your weight and avoiding unnecessary hormone therapy (discuss with your physician first). If you feel that you are at high risk, please contact the Spectrum Health Cancer Center high risk breast clinic.
Betty Ford Breast Care Services offers the most comprehensive breast care in West Michigan. We provide state-of-the-art screening, diagnostics, education and in-depth care to help women achieve optimal breast health. For more information about our breast cancer detection services or to set up an appointment, contact Betty Ford Breast Care Services at 877.495.2626.
Mammography is an X-Ray picture of the breast used for both screening and diagnosis. Spectrum Health has locations throughout West Michigan including several with walk-in services and mobile mammography.
Betty Ford Breast Care Services is the only provider in West Michigan to offer breast tomosynthesis at all of our locations and on our mobile mammography units. This breakthrough three-dimensional (3D) screening tool captures clearer images than conventional mammography and decreases the need for "call-backs". Diagnostic mammograms that utilize tomosynthesis can create a highly detailed image, helping uncover tumors that might otherwise go undetected.
Breast ultrasound is a procedure that uses sound waves to create a picture of the inside of the breast. It can be used to determine if a breast lump is filled with fluid or is a solid tumor.
Breast MRI produces highly detailed views of the tissue. It can be used after an abnormal mammogram to determine if a biopsy is needed or not.
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