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In 2005, it was estimated that more than 211,000 American women and 1,600 American men would be diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Most breast cancers are detected as a painless lump, which is why annual clinical exams by a health care professional are recommended. However, breast exams are only part of the picture. By the time a cancer can be felt, it typically has been growing for some time.

Mammograms are the most common way to detect breast cancer in its early stages, when it is the easiest to treat. In 2003, Finger Lakes Health acquired the computer-aided detection (CAD) R2 ImageChecker® system to assist radiologists in detecting irregularities of the breast by providing a technology-aided double-read.

Through the use of the computer-aided detection system, which is used on all mammograms performed at Finger Lakes Health facilities, we are able to confidently identify abnormalities or signs of disease, thereby significantly increasing the detection rate of invasive cancers. Studies show that use of the R2 ImageChecker® resulted in a 23% increase in the number of cancers detected than by screening mammography alone.

The American Cancer Society guidelines recommend that women between the ages of 20 and 30 should have clinical breast exams every three years. These clinical exams should be performed by a physician, a specially trained nurse, or a trained technologist. A woman should have her first mammogram (baseline), between the ages of 35 and 40. Beginning at age 40, guidelines recommend that women should have yearly mammograms in addition to annual clinical breast exams. These exams should not replace monthly breast self-examinations, but rather should supplement them as part of a regular preventive maintenance program. Risk for breast cancer increases with age. You are never too old for a mammogram, as one in eight women will develop breast cancer over her lifetime.

Invite the women you care about to join you. If you are due for a mammogram, make your appointment today. If you are uninsured or under-insured, please contact the Ontario / Yates County Healthy Woman Partnership at 1-800-299-2995, or the Seneca County Healthy Woman Partnership, (315) 539-1936 for assistance.

Having a Mammogram?

What to Expect
If you've never had a mammogram, knowing what to expect will help relieve any anxiety.

  • To minimize the discomfort that some women experience, avoid scheduling your exam for the week before your period, when your breasts are most tender.
  • Wear a two-piece outfit to your appointment so you will only have to remove your top.
  • Don't apply deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or near your breasts on that day.

What to Bring
Have the necessary information ready:

  • Contact information for your physician and any facility where you have had a mammogram.
  • The date of your last period or when menopause began.
  • The dates of any biopsies or other breast treatments you've experienced.

Where to Go
Finger Lakes Health offers two convenient women's health locations serving the diagnostic and treatment needs of women living in Ontario, Seneca, Wayne, and Yates counties. The Women's Diagnostics Services suite is located in the Medical Office Building adjacent to Geneva General Hospital. At Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital, a specialized area for women's services is located in the Diagnostic Imaging Department.

To make an appointment, call Scheduling Services at (315) 787-4555.

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