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October brings reminder about importance of mammograms

October 03, 2023 


Hospital News

EAU CLAIRE, Wis.  –  Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting women worldwide, with millions diagnosed each year. During October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals remind patients and communities about the importance of mammograms and breast health. 

“Many women with breast cancer have no symptoms, and nearly 80 percent who are diagnosed have no family history,” said Corrie Wajek, manager of radiology services at HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals. “Regular screening mammograms are important because it can detect tissue abnormalities before the patient is even aware there may be a concern. And breast cancer is more likely treatable when caught early.”

HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals offers screening and diagnostic imaging through 2-D and 3-D mammography. Wajek says women should talk with their provider to determine which is the best option. 

Traditional 2-D mammograms take two-dimensional X-ray images of the breast tissue which is displayed in a single image. Because all the overlapping breast tissue is displayed in this one image, it can be difficult to differentiate between normal breast tissue and potential abnormalities. 

3-D mammograms, which are now widely available, are more advanced. This type of X-ray captures multiple images of the breast from different angles, creating a 3D view of the breast tissue. This allows radiologists to examine each layer of tissue, providing a clearer and more detailed view.

“Either type of mammogram is better than no mammogram,” says Wajek. “However, it is nice to have a very clear breast tissue image as a baseline so we can monitor any changes or developments in follow-up screenings.”

All women should talk with their health care provider about the appropriate timing for screening mammograms, especially women at high-risk. A mammogram schedule will be based upon an individual’s health. At age 40, women should have a screening mammogram and continue to have one at least every other year. 

Additional breast procedures may be necessary as a result of findings from a mammogram, such as ultrasound, ultrasound guided biopsy/FNA, breast MRI, wire localization, lymphoscintigraphy or sentinel lymph node mapping. 

It is also important to be aware of factors that can contribute to the cause of breast cancer. These include:
  1. Increasing age: The risk of breast cancer increases with age. 
  2. Personal history of breast cancer: Women have had breast cancer are more likely to develop a second breast cancer. 
  3. Inherited breast cancer: Doctors estimate 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are linked to gene mutations passed through generations of a family. 
  4. Dense breasts: Women who have a high percentage of breast tissue that appears dense on a mammogram have a higher risk of breast cancer than women of similar age who have little or no dense breast tissue.
  5. Having never been pregnant: Women who have never been pregnant have a greater risk of breast cancer than women who have had one or more pregnancies.
  6. Body weight: The chance of getting breast cancer is higher in women who are overweight or obese than in women of a healthy weight.
  7. Physical activity level: Women who are physically inactive throughout life may have an increased risk of breast cancer. 
  8. Race: In the United States, breast cancer is diagnosed more often in white women than in African American/Black, Hispanic/Latina, Asian/Pacific Islander, or American Indian/Alaska Native women.
  9. Radiation therapy: Women who had radiation therapy to the chest before age 30 have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. 
  10. Alcohol: Studies indicate the more alcohol a woman drinks, the greater her risk of breast cancer. 
  11. Reproductive and menstrual history: Women who had their first menstrual period before age 12 or who went through menopause after age 55 have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. 
  12. Long-term use of menopausal hormone therapy: Women who used combined estrogen and progestin menopausal hormone therapy for more than five years have an increased chance of developing breast cancer. 
To make an appointment for a mammogram at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire or HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital please in Chippewa Falls, please call (715) 717-1461. For more information about imaging services, visit our website.
About HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital
HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the Founding Institute, and it is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1885, it has served the people of the Chippewa Falls area with health care that is high tech and high touch. Known locally for the quality of the care it provides patients, the hospital has been recognized nationally for its outstanding patient satisfaction levels.

About HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital
HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the Founding Institute, and it is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1889, it has been meeting patient needs in western Wisconsin with the latest medical innovations and technology, together with a Franciscan whole-person healing tradition.

About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high quality, Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our 15 Local Systems and physician practices in Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan, and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visit
October brings reminder about importance of mammograms
Media Contact

Karen Kraus

Communications Department HSHS Wisconsin