We often hear, "When I came to Akron General Reflections Breast Center for my first mammogram, I wasn't sure what to expect. I was a little nervous, but everyone I saw immediately put me at ease." Personalized care in a comfortable environment is what our patients can expect at any one of Akron General’s six convenient Reflections Breast Health Center locations.
State-of-the art digital screenings are reviewed by a team of highly trained physicians. Results are reviewed quickly and in the event follow-up care is needed, patients are connected with a full support team to help guide them through the process. On average, our patients are able to know within the week, or sooner, if there are any serious concerns, such as breast cancer.
A superior experience also means offering:
- Experienced and fellowship trained physicians
- Dedicated breast health nurse
- Fast results
- Follow-up care
- Digital and 3D mammography and advanced diagnostics available
Breast cancer awareness truly begins with emphasis on prevention and early detection. It is important to perform monthly self-breast exams and also have the exam done by a healthcare professional. These exams help identify when changes occur in the breast tissue. If you recognize any changes in how your breasts look or feel, it is important to talk with your doctor, discuss these changes and decide about appropriate next steps.
The suggested recommendations for breast examinations include:
Women ages 20-39
- Do a periodic breast self-exam.
- Have a Clinical Breast Exam by a healthcare professional every 1-3 years.
Women ages 40 and older
- Do a periodic breast self-exam.
- Have a yearly mammogram.
- Have a yearly Clinical Breast Exam by a healthcare professional near the time of the mammogram.
In years past, there have been several controversial mammography recommendations. These recommendations issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) had staggering affects. Women canceled their appointments believing mammograms were not needed.
We must educate and spread the message that mammography works. Akron General follows the recommendations of the American Cancer Society as does the American College of Surgeons and the American College of Radiology. Before canceling your appointment, or letting someone you love cancel theirs, consider the following:
- Mammography has reduced the breast cancer death rate in the United States by 30% since 1990.
- One invasive cancer is found for every 556 mammograms performed in women in their 40s.
- Mammography only every other year in women 50 to 74 would miss 19% to 33% of cancers that could be detected by annual screenings.
- Starting at age 50 would sacrifice 33 years of life per 1,000 women screened that could have been saved if screening had begun at age 40.
- 85% of abnormal mammograms require only additional images to clarify whether cancer is present. Only 2% of women who get screening mammograms require a biopsy.
It’s important to talk with your doctor about your individual risk factors for developing breast cancer. A risk factor is anything that increases your chance of getting a disease. Having one or more of the following risk factors does not mean that a person will get breast cancer. However, not having any of these risk factors doesn’t mean that a person will not get breast cancer.
Risk factors for breast cancer include:
- Increased age
- Menstruating or menopause at an early age
- Having a first child at age 30 or never having given birth
- A personal history of breast cancer
- A mother or sister diagnosed with breast cancer
- Previous radiation therapy to the breast/chest for pediatric cancer
- Dense breast tissue identified through mammograms
- Drinking alcoholic beverages
- Gene mutations in your family, such as BRCA 1 or 2
- Obesity after menopause
- Lack of physical activity
Free Screening Mammograms
Nationally, five out of every 1,000 women who receive a screening mammogram will have a breast cancer diagnosis. Due to lack of resources, often health insurance and income, women will hold off scheduling their annual screening mammogram. Living our mission as a health system means finding ways for our community to access these much needed services.
Since 1992, Akron General has partnered with Main Street Gourmet for Muffins for Mammograms ® to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars so we can provide screening mammograms at no cost to the uninsured or underinsured. Each October, during national breast cancer awareness month, our bake sale raises money to cover the cost of mammograms. Each order of muffins comes with breast health education and a heart-felt thank you from the thousands of Akron-area women who’ve been able to receive this life-saving screening.
We are proud to partner with Main Street Gourmet and long-time community sponsor, WQMX 94.9FM. Annually, proceeds from the Bosom Buddies event contributes to this expansive community effort. The program would not be so successful without their support and passion for awareness within the local community.
Other outstanding community partners include:
- Akron Beacon Journal & Ohio.com
- Akron Racers fast-pitch women’s softball team
- Summit County Chapter of the American Cancer Society
Muffins for Mammograms is the only free breast cancer screening and educational program in Summit County that accepts women for screenings on a year-round basis. It has been recognized by the Ohio Department of Health as a Model Program in Cancer Control.
Who qualifies for a free mammogram?
There is no age limit, however, a person must meet the following guidelines to qualify for one free screening mammogram yearly through the Muffins for Mammograms program.
- Have a primary care physician to whom the results can be sent
- Have a written order from your primary care physician
- Screening mammogram performed at one of our six Akron General Reflections Breast Health Centers
If you do not have a primary care physician, visit our online Find-A-Doctor directory.
Muffins for Mammograms ® is a trademark of Main Street Gourmet, Inc. and is used under license by Cleveland Clinic Akron General. All money raised by or through, or donated to, the Muffins for Mammograms program is managed and distributed by Cleveland Clinic Akron General Foundation to provide mammograms to women in the community.
High Risk Clinic for Family Members
Heredity often plays a role in who will develop breast cancer. For peace of mind, Akron General Reflections Breast Health Center offers a High-Risk Clinic for women at an elevated risk for breast cancer.
We know that certain changes, such as mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene significantly increase the risk of breast cancer. If you or someone you know has had an immediate (mother, sister, daughter) or secondary family member (grandmother, aunt, cousin) with breast cancer, call us to set up an appointment.
During the first visit to the High-Risk Clinic for breast cancer, we will review family history and help determine if additional testing may be beneficial in understanding the risk. For those who are determined to be at high risk, we will work with your doctor to offer recommendations for ongoing monitoring, education and support. As health insurance plan coverage varies, we would be happy to provide you with information. Call 330.344.BRST (2778) for further information or to set up an appointment.
Who is at high risk for breast cancer?
There are many factors that put an individual at an increased risk for breast cancer. A person may benefit from our high-risk service if they have:
- A family member diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50
- More than one family member diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer
- A male relative with breast cancer
- Abnormal cells found during a breast biopsy
- Had radiation to the chest, neck or underarms
- A history of BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 gene mutations in family members
- Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry
Akron General is proud to partner with The Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare (CPGH) at Cleveland Clinic to provide genetic counseling to individuals with a personal and/or family history of cancer. To schedule an appointment, please call 330.344.2771. You will need to obtain a physician referral prior to requesting an appointment. Referrals can be faxed to 330.344.0071.
- Andrew H. Fenton, MD - Director - Surgical Breast Center
- Robert A. Marley, MD
- Amanda M. Mendiola, MD - Program Director Breast Surgery Oncology Fellowship
- Mary K. Murray, MD
- William C. Papouras, MD
- Vaishali Patel, DO
Breast Health Care Coordinator
- Kathy Lukity RN, BSN, CBCN
- Kimberly S. Monteith, MD - Diagnostic Radiology
To schedule an appointment, call 330.344.BRST (2778) or complete an online appointment request form.
We welcome individuals with or without a physician's referral, but be sure to check with your healthcare plan.