Education and Information
Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths for women in the United States. With advances in diagnostic information and increases in patient education, we can detect breast cancer early, while it is still very small and highly treatable. Currently, two-thirds of newly diagnosed breast cancers show no signs that the cancer has spread.
How to Prepare for a Mammogram
While the mammogram is a short test, there are a few things you can do to help simplify the procedure.
- Bring previous mammogram films if you were tested at a different facility.
- Do not apply powder, creams, or deodorant on the day of the mammogram as they may contain substances that could interfere with the accuracy of the x-rays.
- Wear a top with a skirt or slacks since you will be asked to remove your top and bra.
All women can get breast cancer, but some women, because of certain factors, may have an increased chance of having breast cancer. Some of these risk factors include:
- A personal history of breast cancer.
- A family history of breast or ovarian cancer.
- Female hormones in the body longer due to early periods or late menopause.
- Taking birth control pills and estrogen.
A woman's risk of developing breast cancer also increases with age. In fact, 75-80 percent of breast cancers are found in women age 50 and older.
Digital mammography is proven to be significantly more advanced than traditional film mammography in detecting breast cancer. Because of the denseness of some breast tissue, conventional film mammography typically identifies only 85 percent of existing tumors. Current research shows that the new digital system may enable doctors to identify more tumors earlier.
Why Choose Digital Mammography at Hallmark Health System?
Hallmark Health System is proud to offer women the latest in digital mammography technology in a personal, compassionate environment. We offer state-of-the-art GE technology for the clearest, most detailed digital images available today.
The Massachusetts Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure is one of over 120 Affiliates across the U.S. and Europe. The mission of the organization is to eradicate breast cancer by advancing research, screening, care, and education. The Massachusetts Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® is dedicated to protecting the most vulnerable residents in Massachusetts, particularly those who face barriers to care. For the third year, the MA Affiliate is generously funding Hallmark Health System’s program “For the Best Health, Remember Breast Health”. This program provides screening, navigation services, and education to local residents.
Our program, “For the Best Health, Remember Breast Health,” funded by the Massachusetts Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, is a three-part educational and support program designed to serve the women in our communities. The program will allow the staff of Hallmark Health System to educate young women about the importance of breast health and breast cancer prevention strategies, provide leading edge training to healthcare staff at Hallmark Health’s six local mammography sites and offer navigation services to women in the community needing support in scheduling their annual mammogram.
This program will address and advance the mission of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure group to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease by advancing education and screening in 12 of the communities served by Hallmark Health. We are honored to have this opportunity to promote optimal breast health and to serve the residents in our communities.
- Improved outcomes as a result of reduced radiation doses, better visualization of breast tissue and integration with our computer aided technology software that improves early detection by 20%
- State-of-the-art digital mammography machines
- Shorter examination times – often 15 minutes or less
- Convenient locations throughout our local communities
- Newly renovated, private waiting rooms
- Easy scheduling with appointments for screenings made within 2-3 days along with early morning, evening and weekend appointments at most locations
- Caring, compassionate and highly experienced technicians
We offer the most advanced technology available today for breast care and screening. The latest technology coupled with experience and compassion leaves you with peace of mind.
Hallmark Health System mammography facilities possess a valid license and certificate of inspection issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
How Can We Help
Having regular screening mammograms is the best way to detect early breast cancer - mammograms can detect over 90 percent of breast cancers. A mammogram is a picture of the breast that shows if the breast tissue is healthy. Our board-certified mammographers x-ray each breast and the total procedure takes only a few minutes. Mammograms can find tumors when they are too small to be felt, even by a physician. The American Cancer Society recommends that women over age 40 have a mammogram every year. With early detection, the five-year survival rate is 97 percent.
Testing Locations Throughout Hallmark Health System
To schedule an appointment at one of the following locations, please call 781-338-7111 or request a mammography appointment online.
585 Lebanon Street, Melrose, MA 02176
Monday – Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Services Provided: Diagnostic Mammography
Lawrence Memorial Hospital
170 Governors Avenue, Medford, MA 02155
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Tuesday, Thursday 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
Services Provided: Diagnostic and Screening Mammography
101 Main Street
101 Main Street, Suite 116, Medford, MA 02155
Monday, Thursday 7:30 am to 7:00 pm
Tuesday, Wednesday 7:30 am to 5:30 pm
Friday 7:30 am to 3:00 pm
Services Provided: Screening Mammography
830 Main Street, Melrose, MA 02176
Monday - Thursday 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Services Provided: Screening Mammography
Hallmark Health Medical Center Reading
30 New Crossing Road, Reading, MA 01867
Monday, Wednesday 8:30 am to 6:30 pm
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 8:30 am to 4:00 pm
Services Provided: Screening Mammography
Sometimes a screen mammogram requires additional tests or breast ultrasound. If something abnormal is found on the mammogram, a biopsy may be required in a small percentage of women. A biopsy is the only sure way to know if cancer is present.
If your physician recommends your for a breast biopsy, Hallmark Health’s Mammography Care Liaison is there to help you each step of the way. Our Mammography Care Liaison will confirm the request with your physician and provide you with any information you may need, answer your questions and help you set-up your appointments. After your biopsy, the Mammography Care Liaison is there to assist you with whatever course of action may be required. If your physician has determined you need a biopsy and you have questions, feel free to contact the Mammography Care Liaison’s office at 781-665-8300.
We perform several types of biopsies, depending on the position and size of a suspicious lump:
- Stereotactic biopsy: the newest type of biopsy for breast cancer, the stereotactic biopsy uses a computer to enable healthcare providers to locate and obtain a sample of the precise center of the questionable area. It uses x-rays taken from multiple angles, and a special biopsy needle. This is a safe, simple, non-invasive, and only mildly uncomfortable procedure. Most patients can resume normal activities immediately afterward.
- Surgical biopsy: this type of biopsy yields the largest breast tissue samples and accuracy of diagnosis is nearly 100%. While a patient is under general anesthesia, a surgeon will attempt to completely remove the area of concern, often along with a surrounding margin of normal breast tissue.
- Core needle biopsy: this 30-minute procedure involves the removal of small samples of breast tissue using a hollow "core" needle. This biopsy can rule out cancer, but inconclusive findings may lead to additional procedures.
- Fine needle aspiration: this biopsy uses a thin needle on a syringe to draw fluid and/or cellular material from a breast abnormality. While a suspicious finding may lead to further tests, a clearly benign diagnosis may prevent patients from undergoing surgery.
A pathologist and physician will review the biopsy results and recommend further tests or treatments if needed. To learn more about cancer care, click here.