Feel Safe Getting a Mammogram at Bronson

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Published on October 07, 2020

Feel Safe Getting a Mammogram at Bronson

Photo of Christina V. Jacobs, MD

Dr. Christina V. Jacobs
Breast Imaging Director, Bronson Healthcare

Some women are postponing their mammogram due to COVID-19. At Bronson we take every precaution to ensure our patients are safe, from the time they call to schedule their appointment, to entering our facility, to checking in, having their mammogram and leaving our testing location.

What to expect
A member of our care team will ask each patient if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms over the phone when scheduling their appointment. The patient will be asked if they have symptoms when checking in for their appointment. If a patient answers yes to symptoms associated with COVID or known exposure to COVID-19, we will direct the patient to sit in a separate waiting area. The technologists will review answers to COVID-19 screening questions in our system prior to bringing their patient back for the exam. If answers correlate to possible symptoms of COVID-19 or known exposure to COVID-19, the technologist will wear proper personal protective equipment to care for these patients.

Is Bronson back to normal with scheduling patients for screening mammograms?
When the pandemic started we continued to perform breast imaging for urgent cases but postponed all screening mammograms. After COVID-19 in our community began to decline, we started rescheduling mammograms that were postponed and reopened the locations that were closed. We are also back to scheduling new appointments for screening mammograms.

What type of safety precautions are being taken at Bronson’s mammogram locations?
Even before the pandemic, infection control was a priority. Staff have always cleaned their hands before and after every patient encounter and cleaned all surfaces of the equipment patients come in contact with before and after each patient. In the current situation, we want all of our patients to feel safe in a caring environment and we have taken many additional precautions to do so. All of our staff wear the proper protective equipment. All staff wear protective masks and technologists wear gloves when performing the mammogram. Patients are required to wear protective masks or face coverings for the duration of their appointment. Staff is also taking the time to do extra cleaning between patients to prevent any potential spread. For example, staff clean all surfaces that may have been touched after each patient including door handles, chairs, desk and counter tops in addition to the mammography equipment. Efforts are made to avoid having patients in common areas at the same time. Appointment times are spaced out to allow more time for cleaning and to decrease the number of people at the facility at one time. If a woman is concerned because her health status puts her at increased risk for COVID-19, I suggest calling a Bronson Breast Health Nurse Navigator (269) 341-8517. She can provide advice if special accommodations are needed.

There has been much discussion regarding the age women should start getting mammograms. What is Bronson’s stance?
We’ve come a long way in the treatment of breast cancer. Those treatments are most effective when we find breast cancer early. Our best chance of finding breast cancer early and defeating it is through screening mammography. Current guidelines are confusing because they have differing opinions on what age a woman should begin screening mammograms and how often to screen. However all of the guidelines agree that screening mammography saves lives and that the most lives are saved when screening is yearly starting at age 40. All of the guidelines agree women should be offered the option to begin screening at age 40. At Bronson we believe saving lives outweighs the potential risks such as anxiety and we recommend women start getting a screening mammogram every year at age 40. Some women who are high risk because of family history or other factors should start earlier.

What is a 3D mammogram?
Bronson has seven mammogram locations conveniently located throughout southwest Michigan. All but one location offers 3D mammography, also known as tomosynthesis. 3D mammography allows us to view the breast tissue in thinner slices giving more detail. Our experience has been that we are finding more early cancers with tomosynthesis than with standard mammograms.

What additional screening procedures does Bronson offer?
In addition to 3D mammography, we offer breast MRI and whole breast ultrasound. Breast MRI is recommended for high risk women. Whole breast ultrasound is recommended as a supplemental test to mammograms for average risk women with dense tissue.

How can you schedule a mammogram?
There are a few ways to schedule a mammogram. If a patient has a Bronson MyChart account, they can schedule online. Or, call to schedule an appointment:

Battle Creek: (269) 245-8666

Kalamazoo: (269) 341-8700

Paw Paw: (269) 341-8700

South Haven: (269) 639-2828

Additional information on mammograms, mammogram locations, how to make an appointment and even patient stories on our website – bronsonhealth.com/mammogram. For specific questions, Bronson Breast Health Nurse Navigators can be reached at (269) 341-8517.