What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray exam of the breasts to look for abnormalities. At WDC, the results are recorded directly into a computer for a doctor called a radiologist to examine.
A mammogram is used for women who have no breast complaints (screening) and for women who have breast symptoms (diagnostic), such as a change in the shape or size of a breast, a lump, nipple discharge, or pain.
Why should I get annual mammograms?
Annual mammograms allow the radiologist to compare this year's scan to previous years, in order to notice changes that might be significant.
Breast changes occur in almost all women. In fact, most of these changes are not cancer and are called "benign," but only a doctor can know for sure. Breast changes can also happen monthly, due to your menstrual period.
Can I get a mammogram if I don't have insurance?
WDC also accepts payment from women who are uninsured. The self-pay fee is $140.00 and must be paid at the time of the exam by cash, check, VISA, or Mastercard. In addition, we administer a grant from the American Cancer Society which offers FREE mammograms to some low-income, uninsured women. She may call our office to determine her eligibility for this grant.
Do I need an appointment? Yes, we want to minimize your waiting time and have located your previous films (if we have them). However, if you come into our office to schedule your appointment and we have an open slot, we will do your mammogram at that time if you wish.
Do I need an order from my doctor? If you have an order from your doctor, please bring it. It may tell us whether your mammogram is diagnostic or routine screening. Ohio does not require an order from a doctor for a routine, annual mammogram.
How long will my exam take? 15-30 minutes, for a screening mammogram; more time may be needed to do a diagnostic mammogram
Do I need my previous films? Yes, our radiologist needs to compare our films with your previous exam in order to give your doctor an accurate report. If you bring the films or give us permission to obtain them in advance, your report will be timely. If you sign our release on the day of your mammogram, it may take several weeks to receive the films, which could delay your report.
At what age should I begin to have a mammogram and how often? The American Cancer Society and most physicians recommend starting mammograms at age 40 and having one annually thereafter. However, your doctor may advise starting at an earlier age if you have a history of breast cancer among the women in your family, especially your mother or your sister.
Can I schedule a mammogram during my menstrual period? You may choose to schedule your mammogram when your breasts are the least tender, which is usually 7-10 days after your period starts.
Will my mammogram hurt? Each view takes two minutes or less. The machine releases immediately. There may be brief discomfort, but our technologists are especially sensitive to your response. We don’t want a woman to dread her mammogram. Most of our patients do not find our exams painful.
Can I drink caffeine the day of my exam? Some women with tender, fibrocystic breasts may want to avoid caffeine. For other women, it is not a problem.
Will my doctor get a report? Yes, and you will get a brief report also. If you need additional views, we may call you.
How do I get to your office? We are located in Cleveland Heights, on Severance Circle. To get directions to our office, click here, and enter the address you will be leaving from in the space provided.
If I’m coming from work, can I wash off my deodorant there? Yes, no problem.
How long will it take? If you have completed all the paperwork prior to arriving for your scheduled appointment, you should be going back to work in about 15 minutes.
Do I need an order from my doctor? No. Screening or routine mammograms do not require a physician’s order.
At what age can I have a mammogram? The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends annual screening mammograms for women ages 40 years and older UNLESS your physician has determined that you might be at higher risk for developing breast cancer. In that event, you will receive a written prescription to begin annual screening at an earlier age.
Is a mobile mammogram as good as a “regular” mammogram? In Ohio, all mammography centers, including mobile facilities must be accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and in compliance with Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA). The standards for mobile units require more quality assurance testing than hospital based units. Our equipment, our employee qualifications, and our quality assurance records are inspected annually by an independent medical physicist and an MQSA inspector. Our most recent inspection was free of violations.
How do you compare this year’s films to last year’s films if I had them done at another facility? The medical release form that you sign allows us to request your most recent films from any facility. This is standard medical practice. Once we receive the films, our radiologist will do a comparative review of this year’s films against your last mammogram. Then, we return your previous films.
Will my Doctor receive a report? Yes. Once your films have been read and compared to your previous films (if they are available), we send our radiologist’s interpretation directly to the physician you have identified on your patient information form. In addition, YOU will also receive a report from our radiologist.
What if I haven’t seen a doctor in the past year? Many physicians will not be responsible for your care unless they have seen you within the past 12 months. In the event of an abnormal finding, our radiologist must be able to communicate directly to a physician who considers you an active patient. This is important to assure that you get appropriate medical care.
Are the results kept private? Yes! HIPAA Law (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) requires all healthcare providers to guarantee privacy in accessing patient records. Therefore, the medical release form that we ask you to sign specifically gives WDC permission to obtain information from other healthcare providers as it pertains to your mammogram and breast health such as: obtaining previous films, providing our films to your physician. It does NOT allow us to share private information with your employer.
What is the difference between a screening mammogram and a diagnostic mammogram? They may be the same exam. A diagnostic mammogram is required when your physician notes that you have palpable lumps, nipple discharge, and/or other possible symptoms of breast problems. Another difference is that a diagnostic mammogram requires that a radiologist be on-site. The radiologist will be able to order additional views and/or an ultrasound, if needed, at the time of your diagnostic mammogram. This is why we cannot perform diagnostic mammograms on our mobile unit.
Can you bill the insurance company directly? Yes. However, depending upon whether your employer offers a self-funded or insurance plan, we will follow the billing instructions we are given. WDC’s Administrator will work directly with you and your employer to ensure a smooth process.
Can you collect my co-pay at the time of the service? Yes. However, sometimes we will bill your co-pay to you after your insurance plan has responded to our claim. We will follow the billing instructions your employer gives us.
Will the on-site company coordinator receive support in planning the mammography event? Absolutely! WDC’s Administrator and our entire mobile team “partners” with your coordinator to eliminate the burden of producing “another” event while maximizing attendance. We provide your on-site coordinator with template documents that can be edited with your specific information for quick and easy communication. We also provide the appointment schedule, all patient forms, and several documents that can be used to communicate with your employees. Most importantly, we customize our program to fit your needs.