Health, as they say, is wealth. One of the major causes of mortality among women over the last two decades is breast cancer. You can detect breast cancer at its early stages through a mammogram.
If you are in South Africa and you want to know how much a mammogram costs, then you are reading the right post. In this post, we will take a look at mammogram costs in South Africa. We will also take a look at other salient issues surrounding the process.
It promises to be an exciting and enlightening read, so ensure you read to the end.
Mammogram cost in South Africa
Mammograms generally cost a lot in many parts of the world. However, in South Africa, there are medical aids that help to alleviate the cost of this kind of procedure. By reason of this, South Africans can enjoy lots of discounts on health procedures including mammograms.
You just need to ensure that the hospital you are visiting to run the procedure charges based on these aids. A mammogram is usually paid for by most of these medical aids through a screening fund.
As a result of this, even if you are registered under a limited plan, the procedure should be covered by the medical aid. On average, a mammogram procedure in South Africa costs about R1612.50.
This cost also covers the tomosynthesis study and breast ultrasound as well.
Defining a mammogram
If this is your first time reading about mammograms, it is important that you get a concise definition of the term. A mammogram is the imaging of the breast in two orientations through a low radiation x-ray.
During the process, there is some form of compression on the breasts. However, when compared to the old times, this is considerably less. This is made possible by the tomosynthesis machine. This is because images can be obtained by the machine with little or no compression at all.
You are probably hearing about this for the first time because it is a relatively new process. It is regarded as the most recent gold standard when it comes to mammography.
The process is carried out by a Tomosynthesis machine. This is a special mammogram machine with the ability to image the breasts in 3-D. The advantage of this is that more cancers can be discovered more easily. At the same time, it is able to rule out cancers in patients that are healthy.
The patient is more comfortable during the process because there is far less compression of the breasts during tomosynthesis. A C-View reconstruction program helps to reduce the dosage of radiation in tomosynthesis. This way, it is less than what is experienced in the conventional mammogram process.
Only a few Imaging centers in South Africa have this machine as yet. The only reason why it is this affordable is because of the medical aids that provide assistance with payments. A 3-D mammogram follows the same process as a tomosynthesis procedure.
The mammogram procedure
After you hear the different medical terms above, it is possible to have some phobia about the process. It really isn’t that confusing or cumbersome. In fact, in most cases, it is over in minutes.
First, the radiographer or x-ray technician positions the breasts, one after the other, into the machine. The practitioner then takes pictures, each of the breasts takes less than 60 seconds to capture.
Almost immediately, the x-ray doctor or radiologist receives the images from the technician. He or she then tries to compare the images with previous images. This is necessary to figure out if there are any discrepancies or abnormalities.
After this, an ultrasound is performed on the breasts of the patient. During this period, the doctor and patient have the opportunity to discuss the patient’s history and any other concerns.
Mammogram and ultrasound
There is a relationship between mammograms and ultrasounds. The doctor carries out an ultrasound on the breasts of the patient for several purposes. Basically, it is for the discovery of lymph nodes, benign masses, and cancers.
The reason why most imaging centers add this to the process is that ultrasounds are more efficient at penetrating thick tissue. In some cases, the mammography process may miss some of these anomalies. An ultrasound will easily detect cancers that were overlooked during mammography.
In some cases, there may be some indeterminate pictures gotten from the mammogram process. This can be quite challenging to read and understand. However, with an ultrasound, such indeterminate images become definitive.
The results of the ultrasound help the doctor know if there are any malignant or benign growths. This is why ultrasounds are added to the mammogram process as it enhances the ability to discover cancers. Ultrasounds are usually complimentary and there is no extra charge.
MRI Breast Scan
An MRI scan is regarded as the ultimate mode of investigation for breast cancers. Doctors recommend this process when regular screenings are required for high-risk patients. It recommended more for younger women.
Another scenario where it is recommended is when there is existing cancer and there is a need to discover the extent. It may also be needed in investigating the risk of tumor recurrence.
To date, MRI breast scan is regarded by many as the best method of evaluating breast prostheses for any damage.
A few important things to know about mammograms
The fact that you have thus far means you either need mammography or you have someone who does. We have a few tips to help you as you prepare for the process.
- Mammograms can save you. Of course, mammography does not cure breast cancer, however, it helps discover them early.
- You don’t need to be afraid. Technology has made the process very fast and comfortable. Plus the risk of radiation has been reduced to the barest minimum so it is safe.
- Look for the best quality you can. For women less than 50 years old, it is best to pick digital mammograms.
Now you know what a mammogram is and how much it costs in South Africa. We have also told about different aspects of the process as well as a few tips to help you. Register with medical aid in South Africa to help handle these costs. Once you are 40 years old, check yourself at least once a year for breast cancer.