Statistics show that one out of every eight women will get breast cancer. Preventive screenings, such as mammograms, are valuable tools at detecting breast cancer at an early stage, thus making it more treatable.
Located within the Baptist Health Women’s Center-Fort Smith, The BreastCare Clinic is dedicated to serving women through a wide range of services including screening and diagnostic mammography, ultrasound and breast biopsies. A radiologist and surgeon are on-site. Breast self-examination training, genetic assessment and testing, along with breast health education, are also available. The clinic is one of the state’s largest mammography providers and an FDA-approved facility.
To schedule a mammogram, please call:
Baptist Health – 479-441-4100 option 3
Clinical Breast Exam
Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam as part of a regular health exam by a health professional at least every three years. After age 40, women should have a breast exam by a health professional every year.
The Women’s Center at Baptist Health offers breast tomosynthesis, commonly called 3D mammography, for breast cancer screening. Breast tomosynthesis produces a three-dimensional view of the breast tissue that helps detect breast cancer in its earliest stages, when it can be easier to treat and more curable.
Though the 3D mammogram is performed in the same way as traditional mammography, this type of mammography is beneficial for women with dense breast tissue because it provides a clearer picture for radiologists, which reduces the risk of a false positive. The new system also comes with software that provides contrast enhanced 2D imaging, which serves as an alternative to a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Baptist Health is the only hospital in the state with this type of software. Another feature unique to Baptist Health is the 2D and 3D prone breast biopsy table which provides 360 degree access to the breast to better accommodate patients.
Between 1990 and 2013, the death rate from breast cancer decreased by 37 percent, or nearly a quarter of a million lives. The decrease is due in large part to aggressive campaigns encouraging women over 40 to be vigilant about mammograms. While recommendations have changed through the years regarding who should get screened and when, the general standards for women at average risk remain the same:
- Starting at age 40, all women can choose whether to start annual screening with mammograms.
- Women age 45-54 should have a mammogram every year
- Women age 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, but can choose to continue annual screenings
- Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good general health, and is expected to live 10 more years or longer
If results are abnormal, we attempt to make contact immediately. This contact is made verbally if possible by one of our patient trackers to explain and discuss the recommendation and answer any questions. A return visit for the recommended test is scheduled within a few days of the initial mammogram. This may also include being scheduled with one of our specialists.
Our on-site radiologists and surgeon (when needed) work closely together to interpret your test results. Results are faxed to your preferred healthcare provider.
Women at high risk should get an MRI and a mammogram every year. Women at moderately increased risk should talk with their doctors about the benefits and limitations of adding MRI screening to their yearly mammogram. Yearly MRI screening is not recommended for women who are not at a high or moderate increased risk.
Women at high risk include those who:
- Have a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation
- Have a first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister or child) with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, but have not had genetic testing themselves
- Have a lifetime risk of breast cancer of 20 percent to 25 percent or greater, according to risk assessment tools that are based mainly on family history
- Had radiation therapy to the chest when they were between the ages of 10 and 30
- Have Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, or have first-degree relatives with one of these syndromes
Women at moderately increased risk include those who:
- Have a lifetime risk of breast cancer of 15 percent to 20 percent, according to risk assessment tools that are based mainly on family history
- Have a personal history of breast cancer
- Have extremely dense breasts or unevenly dense breasts when viewed by mammograms
If MRI is used, it should be in addition to, not instead of, a screening mammogram. While an MRI is a more sensitive test (it’s more likely to detect cancer than a mammogram), it may still miss some cancers that a mammogram would detect.
If there is a nodule or abnormality noted on your mammogram, an ultrasound may be performed to aid in the diagnostic procedure. Ultrasound is an easy, painless exam that can detect the difference between a cystic or solid breast mass. Also, if a patient with a noticeable breast lump is too young for a mammogram, ultrasound alone can be done to assess the lump. Cysts in the breast can be drained easily with ultrasound guidance. Needle core biopsies can also be done in the BreastCare Clinic with ultrasound guidance in many instances. This is done with a local anesthesia by a radiologist and results can be obtained within 24 to 48 hours.
If a radiologist reads a test with an abnormal result, time is of the essence. At the BreastCare Clinic, a specialist is often available to meet with patients the same day and provide same-day biopsies in some cases.
For a list of risk factors and American Cancer Society recommendations, visit Cancer.org. Appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis. An order from a physician or qualified healthcare provider is required. If the patient does not have a physician/provider, a list will be provided for selection. All mammogram reports will be sent to the physician/provider, and the patient is responsible for follow-up. *Check with your insurance provider to confirm coverage for a screening mammogram.
- Baptist Health Women’s Center-Fort Smith