The goal of screening for breast cancer is to find it BEFORE symptoms begin (such as a lump). The earlier cancer is detected, the more likely a tumor will be smaller and more confined to the breast. This means treatment is likely to be more successful and survival rates will be higher.

The American College of Radiology currently recommends that women with an average risk of breast cancer get annual screening mammograms, starting at age 40. They recommend a risk assessment at age 30 to determine if earlier screening is needed.

If you have risk factors, such as a family history of breast cancer, talk to your doctor about the appropriate time to begin screening mammograms.

If you have symptoms of breast cancer, don’t delay making an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor can write a physician’s order for a diagnostic mammogram.

Symptoms include:

  • Breast lump
  • Skin dimpling or skin looking like an orange peel
  • Nipple retraction (turning inward)
  • Nipple/areola skin that is red, dry, flaking or thickened
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk (bloody or clear like water)
  • Swollen lymph nodes (under the arm or around the collar bone – these can sometimes be felt even before the original tumor in the breast)
  • Swelling of the breast (even if no pain)
  • Breast or nipple pain that persists in one pinpoint spot and never goes away, especially if associated with a breast lump

Tomosynthesis (also known as 3D Mammography) is the newest breast cancer screening technology, shown to have 30% increased breast cancer detection over conventional 2D mammography.

3D Mammography is Now Available at:

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Article by: Ian Morley, M.D.

Ian Morley, M.D., is a breast radiologist and associate director of breast imaging at UofL Health. He sees patients at UofL Health – Brown Cancer Center, Medical Center East and Medical Center Northeast. He specializes in the screening and diagnosis of breast cancer through mammography and breast MRI, ultrasound and biopsy. He attended the University of Louisville for medical school and completed an internship in Chicago at Resurrection Medical Center. He completed residency at Loyola University Medical Center in diagnostic radiology and fellowship at Indiana University in breast imaging.

All posts by Ian Morley, M.D.
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