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Fox Chase Cancer Center Recognizes National Mammography Day

PHILADELPHIA (October 15, 1999) -- An estimated 175,000 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, according to the American Cancer Society. That's more new cases than any other type of cancer among women. We should all keep informed about breast health - not just in October during National Breast Cancer Awareness month, but year-round. So today, National Mammography Day, Fox Chase Cancer Center offers some fast facts on mammography to learn and remember for every day.

  • Mammography is the single most effective method to detect breast changes that may be cancer.
  • A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. It can find a cancerous lump that is too small for you or your doctor or nurse to feel.
  • The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and American Cancer Society recommend that women have an annual screening mammogram starting at age 40.
  • Women who are at increased risk of breast cancer due to family or personal history should consult their doctor about when to begin having mammograms and how often to be screened.
  • The mammogram should be scheduled for one week after the menstrual period begins, when the breasts will be the least tender.
  • The woman will be asked to undress from the waist up only, and stand next to the X-ray machine. Two flat surfaces will then compress each breast for a few seconds. This compression may be uncomfortable, but it helps to get a clear picture.
  • A specially trained radiologic technologist performs the mammogram. A physician specializing in diagnostic radiology interprets the mammogram. Results are sent to the woman's own physician.
  • In addition to an annual mammogram for women over 40, all women should receive a clinical breast examination by a doctor/health-care provider at least once a year.
  • The practice of monthly breast self-examination is also important and will alert a woman to any breast changes that may signal the need for a visit to her doctor.
  • Most states now have laws requiring health insurance companies to reimburse all or part of the cost of screening mammograms.
  • Medicare covers 80% of the cost of mammography screening every year for women age 65 and older. Yet, more than 60 percent of older women do not take advantage of Medicare-covered mammography screening.
  • Under the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA), the federal government requires that mammography screening in the United States be of high quality and reliable.
  • Facilities must be certified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lawfully perform mammography and to be reimbursed by Medicare and Medicaid for mammography services.
  • To be certified, facilities must meet standards for the equipment they use, the people who work there and the records they keep. An FDA-issued certificate must be displayed prominently at each facility.
  • Fox Chase Cancer Center is a fully accredited mammography facility, one of more than 10,000 FDA-certified institutions across the United States.
  • For more information on breast cancer and mammography and for a list of FDA-certified mammography facilities in your area, call the Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER.
  • For more information about Fox Chase Cancer Center and its programs and services, call 1-888-FOX CHASE.

Fox Chase Cancer Center is one of 36 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation. The Center's activities include basic and clinical research; prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach programs.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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