Answers to your questions about breast health screenings
What age should I start mammography?
Current recommendations are to start annual screening at age 40. Patients who have a mom or sister with pre-menopausal breast cancer should start screening 10 years prior to that of their family member’s diagnosis. For example, if Mom was diagnosed at age 45, you should start screening at 35.
Do I need screening or diagnostic mammography?
Diagnostic mammography is for women who are having a problem that has been reported to their doctor and/or for close follow-up after having breast cancer. Diagnostic mammography requires a doctor’s order. Unless you are having an issue such as a lump, bloody discharge, questionable infection or a follow-up to a prior mammogram that questioned an area, you will have a screening mammogram.
Will my insurance cover my mammogram?
Most insurance plans cover a screening every one or two years at 100 percent; however, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses vary per insurance company for diagnostic mammography. Call your insurance company to see if your mammogram is covered.
When and how is ultrasound used?
An ultrasound exam is used in conjunction with a mammogram for patients age 30 and older who may have a suspicious lump. The ultrasound will determine if the mammogram is showing a cystic or solid mass. Women younger than 30 are required to have an ultrasound exam rather than a mammogram to complete studies unless the radiologist decides it’s necessary to receive a mammogram.