Joplin, MO- "You should have a mammogram annually starting, you're very first one at age 40 and have an annual one thereafter." That according to Dana Hutson with the Freeman Wes and Jan Houser Women's Pavilion. If you have risk factors - that could move up to age 35. Recent studies questioned whether annual mammograms were effective for older patients, but that hasn't changed recommendations.
Added Hutson, "We have a lot of patients that come in that are concerned that they're going to have to go to a different schedule and right now Medicare pays for a mammogram yearly."
Some patients are also concerned about potential side effects to the exposure to diagnostic radiation. But Hutson said, "The benefits of radiation from a mammography outweigh the risks that are involved. And that is why annual mammograms are recommended. Finding that cancer early is a small bump in the road versus waiting until that cancer is large."
And Freeman is adding new digital mammography equipment at the Freeman Neosho Campus. Operations kick off at the Neosho Women's Pavilion next month - on Monday, November 7th.