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Self-Referral Screening Mammogram Frequently Asked Questions

Posted: 10/6/2020

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 What is a screening mammogram?

Mammography is a specialized type of medical imaging that uses low-dose x-ray to see inside the breasts. A mammography exam is called a mammogram.

A screening mammogram is different from a diagnostic mammogram. A screening mammogram is for women who have no apparent signs of breast cancer. Women who are at average risk of developing breast cancer should start having annual screening mammograms at age 40. A physician may recommend a diagnostic mammogram if the screening mammogram detects something suspicious that requires additional imaging. A physician may also recommend a diagnostic mammogram for women who are experiencing signs of breast cancer.

Why should I get a screening mammogram?

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the United States. Breast cancer may not cause symptoms in the early stages. Screening mammograms are currently the most reliable and effective way to detect breast cancer early before it’s big enough to feel or cause symptoms. Results from decades of research show that women who have regular screening mammograms are more likely to have breast cancer found early, are less likely to need chemotherapy and aggressive treatment like surgery to remove the breast (mastectomy), and are more likely to be cured.

What is self-referral screening mammogram at Nuvance Health?

Self-referring screening mammogram means that women who meet criteria can schedule a routine mammogram without a physician order. This improves access to these important screenings and is a convenient way for women to schedule a routine mammogram. Please note that a physician order is required for women who don’t meet the following criteria for a self-referral screening mammogram or who need a diagnostic mammogram. If you don’t have a physician, such as a primary care physician, call 888-525-4767, Monday–Friday, 7am–6pm, to be connected with one near you.

Who can schedule an appointment for a screening mammogram?

Women must meet the following criteria to self-refer for a screening mammogram:

  • Age 40 and older
  • Do not have symptoms of breast cancer, such as:
    • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast
    • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
    • New lump in the breast or armpit
    • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood
    • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast
    • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
  • Do not currently have breast cancer
  • No history of breast cancer
  • Last mammogram was at least 12 months ago (average risk women can have a screening mammogram one time per year)

Just because you have these symptoms doesn’t mean you definitely have breast cancer, but it’s important to get checked as soon as you notice any changes. Speak with your physician and let them know how you’re feeling. They may recommend a diagnostic mammogram or other tests. If you don’t have a physician, such as a primary care physician, call 888-525-4767, Monday–Friday, 7am–6pm, to be connected with one near you.

How do I know if I’m at average or high risk of developing breast cancer?

You may be at high risk of developing breast cancer if you have a strong family history of breast cancer, or a genetic predisposition to breast cancer, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations. Speak with your physician if you think you’re at high risk of breast cancer. If you don’t have a physician, such as a primary care physician, call 888-525-4767, Monday–Friday, 7am–6pm, to be connected with one near you.

How can I schedule a screening mammogram?

To schedule a screening mammogram by phone, call 845-790-8855 and then press option 1 for imaging.

To request a screening mammogram online, visit nuvancehealth.org/breastcare and select Request an Appointment Online. A scheduling specialist will then contact you by phone to confirm your appointment.

What should I have available when I schedule an appointment?

  • Date of last screening mammogram
  • Health insurance information if available
  • Name of consulting physician(s) that you would like to receive a copy of your results, such as a primary care physician or gynecologist

Where can I get a screening mammogram at Nuvance Health?

DRA Imaging, A Division of Vassar Brothers Medical Center

200 Westage Business Center Drive

Fishkill, NY 12524

Northern Dutchess Imaging Center

6511 Springbrook Avenue

Rhinebeck, NY 12572

Nuvance Health Kingston Multispecialty Center and Urgent Care

1240 Ulster Avenue

Kingston, NY 12401

Located at the Hudson Valley Mall

Putnam Imaging Center

670 Stoneleigh Avenue

Carmel, NY 10512

The Dyson Breast Center

21 Reade Place

Suite 2300

Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Part of Vassar Brothers Medical Center

Sharon Imaging Center

50 Hospital Hill Road

Sharon, CT 06069

Self-referral screening mammograms are also available at imaging centers affiliated with Nuvance Health’s Danbury Hospital and Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut. To schedule a mammography in Danbury, please call: 203-739-4999. To schedule a mammography in Norwalk, please call: 203-838-4886

What if I don’t have health insurance?

The Putnam Hospital and Vassar Brothers Medical Center locations are designated New York State Cancer Service Programs (CSP). With this designation, breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screenings and diagnostic services are available at no cost to residents who live in New York State who don’t have health insurance, or have health insurance with a cost share that may prevent them from obtaining screening and/or diagnostic services.

How can I prepare for my appointment?

Mammography Images

If you’ve had a screening mammogram in the past, please provide the images for comparison purposes if they’re available. This is important to understand if something is a new development or has been there for years and normal for you.

Depending on where you had your last mammogram, the images may be sent electronically, or you may need to bring a CD of the images with you to your appointment. Please contact your physician or the imaging center where you had your last mammogram to send or pick up the images before your appointment.

Safety Guidelines

To ensure the health and safety of patients and staff, Nuvance Health has implemented a variety of safety measures at its facilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please visit nuvancehealth.org/safecare to learn more and to prepare for your mammogram appointment.

When and how will I be notified of the results?

A board-certified radiologist will review your mammography images within three business days of your appointment, unless images from your last mammogram are expected for comparison but haven’t yet been received.

You’ll be registered as a self-referring patient when you schedule your appointment. That means your mammogram results will be sent directly to you. The results will be mailed to you and also available in the Nuvance Health patient portal. If you’re an existing Nuvance Health patient and already have an account, log onto MyHQ247 patient portal to view your medical records. If you don’t have an account and would like to self-enroll, please visit the patient portal here for more information.

Will my physician receive my mammogram results?

If you want a consulting physician, such as a primary care physician or gynecologist, to receive a copy of your results, please provide this information when you schedule your appointment for a self-referral screening mammogram.

I don’t have an established physician. Can you connect me with one?

We can connect you with a Nuvance Health Medical Practice physician. Please let the scheduling team know that you’d like to be connected to a physician when you schedule your appointment for a self-referral screening mammogram. Also, you can call 888-525-4767, Monday–Friday, 7am–6pm, to be connected with a physician near you.

What will happen after I get the results?

If the mammography images reveal normal or benign (not cancer) findings, then no further action is required by you. Except:

  • We encourage you to proactively schedule your next annual screening mammogram.
  • Contact your consulting physician, such as a primary care physician or gynecologist, if you want to review your results with them.
  • If you want to review your results with a physician but don’t have one, call 888-525-4767, Monday–Friday, 7am–6pm, to be connected with one near you.

If additional imaging is recommended after your screening mammogram, then you’ll be contacted directly by a member of our imaging team to discuss next steps. Any follow-up imaging will require a physician order.

I don’t meet Nuvance Health criteria for a self-referral screening mammogram. What should I do?

Please speak with your physician if you’d like a mammogram but don’t meet criteria for self-referral. If you don’t have a physician, such as a primary care physician, call 888-525-4767, Monday–Friday, 7am–6pm, to be connected with one near you.

Why should I get my mammograms at Nuvance Health?

All Nuvance Health imaging locations have American College of Radiology accreditation and provide the highest level of image quality to our patients. For example, advanced 3D mammography technology is available at all Nuvance Health imaging locations. 3D mammography can detect small cancers and masses hidden in breast tissue earlier than standard 2D mammography. This results in 3D mammography detecting up to 40 percent more cancers than 2D mammography. 3D mammography also decreases false positive results so women are less likely to receive false alerts and the additional testing and anxiety that comes with them. In addition to the latest technology, Nuvance Health’s skilled mammography technologists perform mammograms and board-certified radiologists interpret all images.

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