WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - If you ask the average woman who goes in for her yearly mammogram, she'll tell you the most difficult part is waiting on the test results.
"Most of my partners adopt the philosophy, the sooner we can get the results back, the better," said Dr. Adam Braithwaite, a physician with Delaney Radiology.
He says while it may seem like days before women hear the results, they should know something within 24 hours.
"The standard practice across the country is you get their screening mammograms and then the radiologist will read them the next day," Braithwaite explained. "The reports will be finalized and available for the doctor and the patient the next day."
Braithwaite says while some breast cancers are hard to spot, radiologists know cancer when they see it.
"When I see something and it looks like cancer I know right away," Braithwaite said.
According to Braithwaite, suspicious screenings are given a number from 0-6. A 6 is already a known cancer, usually when a patient is getting chemotherapy.
"Now 5 is the bad one," Braithwaite warned. "That is highly suspicious of malignancy. Even if we biopsy it and it comes back not cancer, we're not going to believe it. It needs to come out surgically."
The American Cancer society estimates that over 230,000 women will get a breast cancer diagnosis this year. But unlike years past, their chances of survival are much greater.
Braithwaite, who has more reasons than one to know this, says its early detection, breast self exams and those mammograms you have to wait on, that saves lives.
"I remember growing up - my grandmother had breast cancer and it was a death sentence," Braithwaite recalled. "I mean you heard breast cancer and it was over. My mother is a breast cancer survivor from early detection. It's amazing what we can do when you catch the cancers early."