Women's Health: Breast Health Care at University of Colorado Hospital
Why Choose University of Colorado Hospital for your Breast Health Care?
The University of Colorado Hospital Women's Health clinic has state-of-the-art breast cancer screening technology and a hereditary cancer clinic for women who have a family history of breast cancer. We also provide breast health screening appointments that allow enough time for a complete exam and for women to discuss all of their questions and concerns.
Because a breast health exam can be a personal thing for many women, it is important you feel comfortable with the medical provider of your choice. Women can choose an appointment with the doctor, nurse practitioner or certified nurse midwife with whom they feel most comfortable. At University of Colorado Hospital, our women's health experts give sensitive and confidential care to every patient.
About Breast Health Exams
Routine breast health screenings are important for early detection of breast cancer. Breast health screenings include:
- Monthly self breast exams
- Yearly breast exam by a doctor, nurse practitioner or certified nurse midwife usually done at an annual exam
- Yearly mammogram for women age 40 and older or younger women who are at high risk for developing breast cancer
- Other screenings that may be recommended for women who are at high risk for developing breast cancer
Your Medical Team
The medical team at University of Colorado women's services works together to give every woman the best medical care available in a caring and sensitive environment.
Breast Health Specialists
Nurse Practitioner – A licensed clinical provider who can evaluate and treat women with breast problems that are not cancer and make the diagnosis of breast cancer. In addition, they provide follow up care during and after treatment and see patients with urgent clinical problems when the doctor may not be available.
Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) – A certified nurse midwife (CNM) specializes in women's health. CNM's perform annual exams including breast exams, and pap smears. All CNM's at University of Colorado Hospital are registered nurses (RN's) with additional training at the master's or doctorate level.
Radiologist – A doctor who specializes in examining X-rays, ultra-sounds and other types of body scans, to locate areas of cancer.
Hereditary Cancer Specialist – a medical oncologist who specializes in genetic testing for patients with a strong family history of breast cancer.
Other Breast Health Staff
Genetic Counselor – A medical professional who specializes in evaluating family history of breast cancer.
Mammography Technologist – A health professional specially trained to perform mammograms.
Registered Nurse (RN) – A fully qualified nurse who can assist you with medical questions and provides education when necessary.
A physical examination of the breasts. The doctor, nurse practitioner or certified nurse midwife will feel all areas of the breasts to check for any lumps or abnormalities.
An x-ray machine that takes a film picture of your breast tissue to look for abnormal areas inside the breast that may be cancerous. Mammograms are the best tool for finding breast cancer early. Every woman beginning at the age of 40, or younger women who have an increased risk of breast cancer, should have a yearly mammogram.
A newer type of mammogram that takes an electronic image of the breast and stores it directly in a computer instead of film. Digital mammography uses less radiation than film mammography and the images can be stored and sent electronically. For most women it is as good as film mammography for detecting early breast cancer and for young women with dense breasts, it may be better. Find out more about digital mammography.
A machine that uses high-energy sound waves to form a picture of the breast tissue, which is displayed on a screen. The ultrasound can show if a lump is solid or a fluid-filled cyst.
A genetic counselor evaluates family history of breast cancer and performs blood tests to determine if the patient has a breast cancer gene. This testing can help women and their doctors make health care decisions that lower the risk of breast cancer. It is important to know that if a breast cancer gene is detected, a woman may have an increased risk of breast cancer, but does not mean a woman will get breast cancer.
Routine breast health is important for detecting breast cancer as early as possible. Maintaining breast health includes:
- A yearly breast health screening at your annual exam. A doctor, nurse practitioner or certified nurse midwife will do a physical examination of the breast tissue to check for any lumps or abnormalities.
- A yearly mammogram for women over the age of 40 or who have a high risk for developing breast cancer.
- Monthly self breast exams should be done at home. You can ask your doctor doctor, nurse practitioner or certified nurse midwife to teach you how to perform a self breast exam.
- A healthy lifestyle is important to maintain breast health. A healthy diet, regular exercise, not smoking and limiting use of alcohol are all part of a healthy lifestyle.
Women with a family history of breast cancer may be referred to the hereditary cancer clinic at UCH to determine their risk of developing breast cancer.