The best time to fight breast cancer is before it even begins. At Aurora, we’re using genetic testing, mammograms, breast imaging, and breast MRI to help low and high-risk individuals harness the power of preventive care. Because the best fight against breast cancer is the one that never has a chance to get started.
Our main preventive tool to spot early signs of breast cancer is a mammogram, which is an X-ray of your breasts. Mammography can spot cancer up to 3 years before you’d be able to feel a lump in your breast. That makes it one of the most effective ways you can protect your health and your life.
If you receive a breast cancer diagnosis, you’re never alone. We make sure you have the answers and support you need by providing you with a personal cancer nurse navigator – a specially trained registered nurse who provides support, coordinates your care, and answers all of your questions and concerns.
Many of our breast care centers are accredited by the National Accreditation Program of Breast Centers (NAPBC). This means our centers have met or exceeded quality standards established by the NAPBC, an organization committed to the highest measure of care for patients throughout all breast cancer stages.
See how Aurora is leading the fight against breast cancer with genetic testing:
Regular mammograms are the most effective way to prevent the signs, symptoms, and onset of breast cancer.
If you’re 40 or older, your doctor may recommend a mammogram every year. If a family member has had breast cancer or you have other breast cancer risk factors, you may need to start having mammograms earlier than age 40, or get them more frequently than once a year.
The most common signs of breast cancer are:
In addition to getting regular mammograms, it’s also a good idea to check your breasts yourself at least once a month.
During your diagnostic mammogram, you’ll remove your shirt and bra and stand in front of a large X-ray machine.
A technologist will position one of your breasts between two clear plastic plates, tighten the plates to flatten your breast, and then take X-ray images.
Next, the technician will repeat the process with your other breast.
Flattening your breasts gives your radiologist (the person who reads the X-rays) clearer, more detailed images. It’s normal to feel some pinching and pressure. If you feel severe pain, tell your technologist.
Mammograms usually take about 10 to 15 minutes, and you’ll often get your results within a few weeks.
If you or a loved one is at high risk for developing breast cancer, schedule a mammogram today.
We recommend the following screenings for women at average risk for breast cancer:
Breast self-awareness: We encourage you to develop a general awareness of how your breasts look and feel, and to report any changes to your doctor. Changes could include a new lump or mass, skin dimpling, swelling, redness, or abnormal nipple discharge.
Clinical breast exams: Beginning at age 40, we recommend you get an annual breast exam by a doctor or other qualified health care provider.
Mammography: Aurora recommends women at average risk for breast cancer have a mammogram at least once every two years beginning at age 40. If you’re at high risk for breast cancer (for example, if breast cancer runs in your family), you may need to start having mammograms at an earlier age or get checked more often.
If you have known genetic mutations like BRCA1 and BRCA2, both of which are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, or you have a history of radiation therapy to the chest, talk with your doctor about earlier and more intensive types of screening.
Genetic counseling: If you’re at a higher risk for developing breast cancer, you may want to speak with a genetic counselor about your preventive care options.
Breast imaging: Breast imaging includes mammography, ultrasonography and breast MRI.
Breast biopsy: During a breast biopsy, a radiologist or surgeon samples a portion of the high-risk tissue in your breast so they can further test for cancer.
Breast MRI: MRI can be used if you have a hereditary risk of breast cancer, or if you have dense breasts or scar tissue. Breast imaging is also helpful in determining the extent, size and distribution of newly diagnosed breast cancer.
These locations offer convenient access to mammography services near you.
Aurora St. Luke's South Shore
Aurora Health Center
Aurora Advanced Healthcare