Timeliness of Care

At The Breast Center, We Alleviate Unnecessary Wait Time

When thinking about having your yearly mammogram, what do you dread the most?  Taking time out of your day to schedule and then go to the appointment? The process of filling out the paperwork for registration? Having your breasts compressed?  For many patients, it's the worry of what the results will be and knowing what to do next. The longer the process, the more you may worry.

To help understand the importance of reducing unnecessary wait time, let's talk about what happens during the yearly screening.  A screening mammogram is the first step in looking at a woman’s breast to see if there are areas of concern that need a closer look. Most women will have a screening mammogram and that is all that is needed.  However, about 5-7% of patients will be called back for a diagnostic mammogram. A diagnostic mammogram is where more images are taken; focusing on the area of concern.

Women with dense breasts (click here to learn what it means to have dense breasts) are recommended to have an ultrasound of the breast along with their mammogram. An ultrasound helps find most hidden masses that may not be seen on a screening mammogram.  

If the diagnostic mammogram or ultrasound shows a problematic area, a needle core biopsy will be performed and then the tissue will be sent to the pathologist to obtain a definite answer.

To minimize time in between obtaining an exam and getting results of a biopsy, the Breast Center uses a Comprehensive Team approach. This is where schedulers, technologists, nurse navigators, radiologists, breast and reconstruction surgeon all work together to alleviate unnecessary wait time. 

When a diagnostic mammogram is needed, our goal is to complete the exam within 24 to 48 hours after the screening mammogram.  If a biopsy is needed after the diagnostic mammogram or ultrasound, the same 24 to 48 hour window is implemented. After the biopsy, the patient will be notified of the pathology results within 24 to 48 hours by the patient navigator. Should the patient receive a diagnosis of breast cancer, the patient navigator will facilitate an appointment with the breast surgeon within 24 to 48 hours for the patient. An example of our timely care would be: a patient who had their screening mammogram on Monday with a diagnostic mammogram on Tuesday could be scheduled for their biopsy on Wednesday - obtaining their results on Thursday and then visiting the breast surgeon on Friday.

If it has been over a year since your last screening mammogram, call (432) 221-2300 and schedule a screening mammogram. You do not need a medical provider's order for a screening mammogram, just a provider to which we can send the report. Also, if you need financial assistance, please contact our eligibility office at (432) 221-5257 and ask about our Pink the Basin funding opportunities.