At the University of South Alabama Children's & Women's Hospital, women who visit the Women's Imaging Center for mammography screenings receive test results before they leave the hospital. Dr. Joel Lightner, chief of women's imaging and assistant professor of radiology, provides same-day results, which encourages women to have regular screenings, knowing they will get fast results and most likely won't have to return for a second visit.
The process works like this – you make an appointment for their yearly screening. On appointment day, you arrive at the Women's Imaging Center at USA Children's & Women's Hospital and receive your mammogram. Because mammograms at USA are now all digital – not film – the radiologist immediately receives the images on the workstation, where the images are reviewed and compared to the patient's previous mammograms.
You are then brought into a consultation room where the radiologist gives you a thorough report and reviews any additional information and specific screening advice. If the radiologist finds something suspicious or if more views are needed, you may need an ultrasound. This service is conveniently available in the same location.
Based on the screenings, if more treatment is indicated, we contact your primary care physician. Depending on your results, you will either go to your primary care physician or straight to a breast surgeon at Children's & Women's Hospital for a surgical evaluation. If a biopsy is needed, you can get one the same day and receive results in 2 or 3 days.
Offering same-day mammography results puts women's minds at ease. They know they're not going to get a call later in the day or week to come back because something looks wrong. Women can walk out knowing everything's OK. They get an answer immediately.
Because women live very dynamic lives – sometimes juggling a career, children, and aging parents, it is important for them to receive their results immediately. It's often difficult for women to take time out of their busy schedule to come back to the hospital at a later time. With same-day results, you don't have to make the second trip and you don't get lost to follow up.
Dr. Allan Green brought the concept of same-day mammography to USA close to 25 years ago. Before that you would have to leave after your mammogram was completed and wait for a letter in the mail that said your test was normal or wait for a call that said it was abnormal.
One in eight women will get breast cancer during their lifetime. Women are usually anxious about their mammography appointment because of fear that something could come back abnormal. If a woman is sitting in a waiting room with seven other women, she might be thinking, "It could be me."
With same-day results, our goal is to reduce anxiety and provide women a convenient and useful tool in maintaining their health.
Current screening recommendations for breast cancer are annual mammograms starting at the age of 40. For those with a first-degree relative with breast cancer – such as a mother, sister, or daughter – the risk of breast cancer almost doubles and they should be screened yearly beginning at the age of 30.
In addition, monthly breast self-examinations are recommended. You should look for new lumps, swelling, nipple discharge other than breast milk, and any dimpling or redness of the skin. If you notice any of these things, let your primary physician know and they will set you up for a mammogram.
For more information or to schedule a mammogram, call your OB-GYN provider or your primary care provider. You can also call the USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital Women's Imaging Center at (251) 415-1660.
© 2016 USA Health System