You may know that it is very important for every woman to get screened for breast cancer. However, do you know what all a mammogram entails? Is it a word you are familiar with or is it just another breast cancer word tossed around? Well, here are some great Mammogram and Breast Cancer Screening Facts.
What is a Mammogram?
- A mammogram is simply an x-ray picture of the breast.
- They can be used to check breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease.
- Mammograms are the best way to detect breast cancer early when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms.
Clinical Breast Exam
- A clinical breast exam is an examination by a doctor or nurse who uses his or her hands to feel for lumps or other changes.
- You know your breasts better than anyone else. Make sure to do a breast self exam to feel for changes in the size or shape of your breast, or any other changes in the breasts or underarm.
When should I get a Mammogram?
- Women age 40 and older should have mammograms every 1 to 2 years
- Breasts will be least tender the week after your menstrual period begins, so that is a great time to schedule your Mammogram.
- If you have a high risk factor, talk to your doctor about when you should start getting mammograms before the age of 40.
- Routine screening should end at age 74.
High Risks include:
- Personal history of breast cancer
- Family History
- Genetic alterations
- Breast density
- Certain breast changes found on biopsy
- Reproductive and menstrual history
- Long term use of menopausal hormone therapy
- Radiation therapy
- Body weight
- Physical activity level
Screening vs. Diagnostic Mammograms
- Screening Mammograms usually involve 2 x-rays, one of each breast.
- Diagnostic mammograms usually take longer and take many more x-rays to obtain different views of the breast.
Mammograms and self-screening are the best tools to fight breast cancer. Although, many times when you find cancer by self-screening, it may have grown to a size that is hard to treat. The best way to detect breast cancer is through Mammograms, before the cancer spreads and grows. If you meet the requirements, find a cancer screening company and call to schedule a mammogram today!