At New Hanover Regional Medical Center, we believe early detection is the best protection against breast cancer. Early detection of breast cancer with screening mammography means that treatment can be started earlier in the course of the disease when it is most treatable.
NHRMC offers comprehensive mammography services for the assessment and early diagnosis of breast disease in a caring environment at locations throughout the region.
Digital Mammography Screening at NHRMC
NHRMC provides digital mammography screening, which has several advantages over traditional film mammography. While the test is performed in the same way, digital mammograms are administered more quickly, produce less radiation, and allow images to be optimized for clarity and improved readability. The digital files can be easily stored within the patient's medical record and shared with referring physicians.
When Women Should Begin Having Screening Mammograms
Current guidelines from the American Cancer Society and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that women have a baseline mammogram at age 40 and yearly thereafter.
Women with increased risk of breast cancer due to family history may benefit from mammography screening earlier and should discuss when to begin screening and frequency of screening with their healthcare provider.
Digital Mammography Screening Locations
NHRMC offers digital mammography screening at five easily accessible locations throughout the area:
- Brunswick Forest, 1333 S. Dickinson Dr., Leland, NC
- Military Cutoff, 1135 Military Cutoff Rd., Wilmington, NC
- Medical Mall, 2243 S.17th St., Wilmington, NC
- Porter’s Neck, 8115 Market St., Wilmington, NC
- Rocky Point, 7910 US Hwy 117 S., Rocky Point, NC (Affiliated with Pender Memorial Hospital)
To schedule your annual digital mammogram, call Central Scheduling at 910.452.8777. Evening and Saturday appointments are available.
How the Screening Is Performed
A female registered mammography technologist will perform the exam in a private mammography suite.
The patient's breasts are placed on a flat surface and compressed between the x-ray detector (on the bottom) and a plastic paddle (on top). The reason for this compression is to spread out the dense breast tissue to obtain a sharper image. This also decreases radiation exposure and patient motion. The compression may produce some discomfort that lasts for a few seconds, but is necessary to create quality images that display the inner breast tissue with good resolution. If you feel pain the technologist can reposition you to make the compression less uncomfortable. The technologist will then take x-ray images of the breast from several angles. The entire mammogram procedure takes approximately 10 minutes.
What to Expect After the Screening
Images are analyzed for abnormalities and compared to prior mammograms, if available. You may be asked to come back at a later date for more mammogram images. This does not mean you have breast cancer. It could mean benign findings such as cysts or benign calcifications, or the doctor may need to recheck an area that could not be clearly seen on the first test. This is more common for first mammograms or when there is no previous mammogram to compare results to.
You will receive a letter detailing your results within 7 – 10 business days. You may be contacted sooner if the radiologist recommends additional imaging.
Mammograms and Breast Density
New Hanover Regional Medical Center now provides all patients who have a mammogram with information about their individual breast density classification. Patients will receive a breast density score and information about what this means. Those patients classified as having heterogeneously or extremely dense breasts will be encouraged to discuss additional screening options with their healthcare providers.
To learn more about breast density classification and how it impacts breast health, please visit the Breast Density page.
Mammogram Voucher Program
With the help of generous people throughout our region, the NHRMC Foundation's Pink Ribbon Project has helped thousands of local women without insurance or other financial resources by providing mammography screenings, diagnostics, comfort items and spiritual support to women fighting breast cancer.
The Pink Ribbon Project funds the Mammography Voucher Program, which provides free mammograms and diagnostic breast procedures to area residents who are uninsured and meet certain financial criteria. Those who qualify for the program are given a voucher which can be used at NHRMC Health & Diagnostic locations. To learn more, visit the Mammography Voucher Program page.
For more information on screening locations, hours and scheduling an appointment, please visit the Imaging and Diagnostics page.
For information about breast cancer symptoms and risk factors, please visit our Health Encyclopedia.