Two Must-Have Health Screenings for Women

Bone Density ScanTwo of the most important screenings for women are mammograms to check for breast cancer and bone density scans to check for osteoporosis.

Breast Screening

The American Cancer Society estimates that a woman in the United States has a one in eight chance of developing invasive breast cancer during her lifetime. It is the second most common type of cancer among women in the U.S., and the leading cause of death among women aged 40 to 49. The good news: as screening programs have become more common, more cases of breast cancer are being detected in the earlier stages of disease, when they are more easily and successfully treated. Even better news: our new Digital Imaging Center uses the latest magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning and digital mammography technology, supported by a highly skilled team of physicians and technicians. An MRI is a noninvasive method to create detailed pictures of the breast and surrounding tissues. It may be done in combination with mammography or ultrasound. However, it is not a replacement for mammography. Among the advantages of digital mammography, a recent advance in x-ray mammography, are shorter examination times and significantly improved patient comfort and convenience.

Bone Density screening

Women are at greater risk for osteoporosis (the disorder in which progressive bone loss results in increased risk of fracture) than men. Women start with lower bone density than their male peers and they lose bone mass more quickly as they age, which leads to osteoporosis in some women. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, osteoporosis statistics show a greater burden for women in the following ways:

• 68 percent of the 44 million people at risk for osteoporosis are women.

• One of every two women over age 50 will likely have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. That’s twice the rate of fractures in men — one in four.

• 75 percent of all cases of hip osteoporosis affect women.

Using our Digital Imaging Center’s bone densitometer, physicians can measure patient bone density and follow it over time. If the patient’s bone density is low, or decreases at an abnormally fast rate, the patient may be at risk for osteoporosis. Through changes in diet, exercise habits and/or medication, further deterioration of bone can be prevented. “The test takes just minutes,” says staff expert Helena Coello, M.Ed., R.T.(R) (ARRT).”