Breast Cancer Screening

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Breast Cancer Screening Image
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women after skin cancer, with over 260,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in 2018, and is the second most common cause of death due to cancer. Thanks to improved screening and treatment, more and more women are surviving each year.

What is Screening?

Screening is looking for the signs of a disease or condition before symptoms begin. The earlier cancer is caught, the better the chance the cancer can be put into remission.

Who Should be Screened?

Women with average risk of breast cancer age 40 or older should receive yearly mammograms. Your primary care provider or gynecologist can give you a referral to an imaging center that can do the mammogram.

In Hampton Roads, mammograms are available at

Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center
100 Kingsley Lane
Suite 306
Norfolk, VA 23510

Bon Secours Health Center at Harbour View
5838 Harbour View Blvd.
Suite 210 (Millie Lancaster Women’s Center)
Suffolk, VA 23435

Women who are at high risk of breast cancer, such as those who have a family history of breast cancer, may receive screenings starting earlier.


A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast. It is a quick procedure, with appointments taking about an hour, and can be done without any special preparation.

Mammograms are used for preventative and diagnostic screenings for breast cancer. Preventative screenings are done regularly on women who have no symptoms of breast cancer, to check for breast cancer before the cancer tumor grows large enough to cause symptoms. By catching cancer earlier, it can be treated more effectively. Diagnostic screenings are for women who suspect they may have breast cancer and need an image to confirm the presence of a tumor and see the size, shape, and position of it.


A biopsy is done when a mammogram or other screening method finds something that might be breast cancer. During a biopsy, a doctor takes a small sample of tissue from the area that might be cancer so that tests can be done to see if it is cancer or something else. Just having a biopsy does not mean that you have cancer, but biopsy is the way that a cancer diagnosis is confirmed.

Genetic Testing

Some genes, or parts of your DNA, make it more likely that you will get breast cancer. The most common genes are BRCA1 and BRCA2, which increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. If you have a strong family history of breast cancer or have close relatives who have genes associated with breast cancer then you may want to be tested to see if you have them as well. Talk with a genetic counselor or other medical professional before you have testing.

Schedule your mammogram today by going to or calling 757-398-2316.