Early Detection is Key to Beating Breast Cancer

Soft music, soothing colors, and a relaxing atmosphere are an unexpected treat for women who arrive at Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists for an annual breast screening. The yearly breast cancer screening is recommended for women ages 40 and up, and even earlier for some of those with a family history of breast cancer. 

The spa-like “Mammo-Glam” experience offered at Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists is a welcome departure from the cold, uncomfortable, clinical experience that has traditionally made the valuable imaging process an unpleasant one. Beyond the inviting environment specifically tailored to women, Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists provides superior screening services as a result of their state-of-the-art imaging equipment and specialized physicians.

The Specialist Advantage

All of the physicians at Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists are fellowship-trained breast imaging experts. While many general radiologists are qualified to read mammograms and ultrasounds, breast Imaging specialists are typically more efficient at differentiating potentially cancerous growths from benign anomalies resulting in fewer false alarms and unnecessary biopsies.

Nearly half of all women undergoing traditional mammograms will experience a false positive result at some point leading to that scary phone call from their doctors telling them that further testing is needed. 

“It’s a screening test,” explains Dr. Bruce Schroeder, the medical director at Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists. “It’s not designed to analyze things. It’s designed to detect things.”

While the majority of these additional tests come back negative for cancer, Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists wants to spare women unnecessary anxiety by using the most effective screening tool: 3D mammography. Since 2014, all mammograms at Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists have been done in 3D, which has benefits beyond lower exposure to radiation and less “squishing” compared to traditional mammography.

“3D is all we do,” Schroeder says. “It lowers the false positive rate by 40% and increases the cancer detection rate by 30 to 40%.”

With the nearly 50% reduction in false positive results achieved by specialists, Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists boasts some of the lowest rates for additional testing in the nation (while maintaining high cancer detection rates).

Choosing Your Imaging Team

The 3D-mammography offered by Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists is not only the most advanced screening technique available, it is also covered by almost all insurance providers. 

With the arrival of the 3D technology in 2014, Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists decided to make the potentially life-saving screening available to everyone. At the time, 3D mammography was not covered by insurance. They have continued this practice for the few remaining insurance plans that still do not cover the advanced test (including Military insurance programs which do not yet cover 3D).

“We made the decision early on not to make patients pay out of pocket for the difference if insurance doesn’t pay for it,” Schroeder says. 

Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists, along with several other pioneering medical locations in the state lobbied the insurance companies and even North Carolina Medicaid to accept the superior screening method as a covered option. 

Many women do not know that they can choose where to go for breast imaging services without a doctor referral. 

“Mammography is one of the only imaging tests that doesn’t require a doctor’s order.  No matter who your doctor is, you can decide to have the imaging done by a specialist even if your doctor has the machine in the next room,” Schroeder explains.

Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists is also the only practice offering 3D screening breast ultrasound for women with dense breast tissue. 3D ultrasound can find many of the cancers that cannot be seen on mammography.

In addition to providing imaging services, Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists also reads images conducted at other facilities.

“If you’ve been told you need a biopsy, we will review your case at no charge, then help you decide how to proceed. You might need more pictures. You might need a biopsy.  You might need nothing,” says Schroeder. “Many  biopsies, particularly those recommended by non-specialized radiologists, are found to be unnecessary when reviewed by a specialist.  You don’t have to have a biopsy at the place your doctor tells you. All of our mammo-guided biopsies are done in 3D as well, which makes it faster and uses less radiation.” Schroeder continues. “We were part of the team that put the system together and got it FDA approved.”

Early Detection & The Empty Pink Chair Project

To bring awareness to the importance of early detection of breast cancer, Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists has partnered with local business sponsors to place an empty pink chair in their places of business during the month of October. The empty chair symbolizes a life lost to breast cancer. 

Over $6,000 (and counting) raised from sponsored chairs will go to the Pretty in Pink Foundation, a non-profit which serves uninsured and under-insured women throughout North Carolina who find themselves facing a breast cancer diagnosis. 

“Our goal is to keep chairs full, detect cancer early and prevent death from breast cancer,” says Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists community outreach liaison Holly Russell.

“Early detection matters because outcomes, prognosis and survival are well correlated with stage of disease at diagnosis,” explains Dr. Schroeder.  “Women who get screened regularly rarely have advanced stage breast cancer. Mammography in general is able to cut mortality by 40%. Because we are experienced specialists using the latest technology, we are usually able to find things in smaller sizes and earlier stages. Our job is to find things before you or your doctor can feel them.”

As part of their exceptional customer service, Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists offers same-day appointments for imaging (and some biopsies).

Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists is located at 990 Johns Hopkins Drive in Greenville, with offices also in Wilson and Goldsboro. Walk-ins are welcome. To schedule an appointment, call 252.565.8951. Visit www.cbispecialists.com to learn more.