Screening and Early Detection
There are three components to an early detection program: self breast-exams, clinical breast exams by your physician or nurse and mammography. Women should get annual mammograms beginning at age 40. If you have a family history of breast cancer, talk to your physician about starting annual mammograms earlier.
To learn more about what to expect during your mammogram, see: Mammography: X-ray exam to detect breast cancer.
IF YOU NEED HELP: If you are uninsured, unable to qualify for Medicaid or Medicare and unable to afford your annual screening mammogram, please contact our Cancer Outreach Office for assistance. Riverside is able to offer screening mammograms and cervical cancer screenings at no cost to eligible women through the grant support of the Every Woman’s Life Program (part of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program - NBCCEDP), as well as grants from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and the Riverside Health System Foundation.
If breast cancer is detected, women diagnosed through this program are automatically enrolled in Medicaid for their treatment. For more information on this program, or to see if you qualify, please call 757-594-3074 or 800-520-7006.
Why get your mammogram at Riverside?
It matters where you go for a mammogram, too. When picking a diagnostic center, several factors should be considered: One of the most important is to determine if the facility is accredited by the American College of Radiology for mammography. Centers that provide additional diagnostic tests, such as stereotactic biopsy, should be accredited for those as well.
Riverside offers screening mammography at ACR accredited centers in:
- Newport News
Women from the Williamsburg and Middle Peninsula centers who need biopsies (a microscopic examination of breast tissues) are usually referred to the Riverside Breast Imaging and Diagnostic Center (A Department of Riverside Regional Medical Center) in Newport News for stereotactic biopsy. This safe, minimally invasive procedure is guided by x-rays to improve accuracy.
The Riverside Breast Imaging and Diagnostic Center (A Department of Riverside Regional Medical Center) in Newport News is designated as a Breast Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology due to its accreditation in all available forms of screening and diagnosis which are used to help detect breast cancer earlier when the chance for cure is greatest. This designation places the center in the top 2 percent of all mammography centers in the country and makes it one of only five such locations in Virginia.
Along with an accredited facility, you should look for a location that will help you get a head start on treatment if you are actually diagnosed with breast cancer. If treatment is needed, our team of physician specialists, surgeons and support staff carry out the best possible plan for each individual.
In addition, when at all possible, the radiologist should have the x-ray films from your previous — or at least most recent — mammograms (not just the written report) for comparison. This helps the doctor find small changes and detect a cancer as early as possible. Because getting the x-ray films from previous mammograms can be a challenge, it is best to find a facility that you are comfortable with and plan to get your regular mammograms there each year. That way, your prior films are easily available.
It’s all part of the reason why it really does matter where women go for a mammogram.
To schedule a mammogram, please call our Central Scheduling Office Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.:
- 757-989-8830, option 2 (Peninsula, Middle Peninsula, Williamsburg)
- 800-675-6368, option 2 (Northern Neck)
Causes and Risk Factors
There are many different factors that impact an individual’s risk of breast cancer. Age, race, genetics, family history, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices can all influence the risk of developing breast cancer.
For more information, see Breast Cancer: Causes and Risk Factors