If there is one thing most women have in common, it’s that they do not enjoy getting their mammograms. It’s one of the more difficult tests women undergo to remain healthy. These tests are performed regularly to help screen for breast cancer. It doesn’t help that the technology used makes the test uncomfortable and stressful. A study found that among the women who didn’t return for their second mammogram, nearly half cited pain as the reason why.
Since getting the test is so inconvenient, many women would rather avoid it altogether and ask themselves when it is safe to stop checking. Sadly, the answer seems to be that it’s more important than ever for women to get mammograms regularly regardless of age. You may decrease the number of tests as you age, but you should never consider stopping.
Older women are more likely to be affected by breast cancer. This is why age plays such a huge role. Over 20% of all breast cancer diagnoses are in women ages 70 and over. This is why mammography is recommended for women on a regular basis. The guidelines suggest a yearly mammogram test beginning at age 40 and continuing every year up to 74. At this age, mammograms are recommended every 2 years unless other factors are involved.
Recently, mammograms have been produced with less radiation exposure; this can help ease some discomfort. If you feel comfortable with your mammography results, continue getting mammograms until advised otherwise by your physician. If there are changes that need to be made or discovered via mammography, it may be wise to stop right away. Many women who experience false positives might just stop altogether because of the stress these tests cause them. Some may eventually get back into testing after undergoing testing elsewhere.
Making the Right Decision
Because older women are more likely to develop breast cancer, it’s nearly impossible to say when it’s safe to stop getting tested. You should spend time discussing this with your doctor and/or gynecologist to help prepare a plan that’s right for you.
Just know that mammograms are not the only method used in preventing breast cancer. Another thing is knowing what signs to look for when it comes to breast changes. If there appears to be a difference in the appearance or feel of one’s breasts, see a doctor right away. This could mean more mammograms will follow and possibly an additional test.
No matter how uncomfortable mammography tests may be, they are important in helping detect any abnormalities early on.
One thing to keep in mind about getting a regular mammogram is that the technology is constantly changing. They now have compression machines that are curved to allow a better fit for the breasts. There are even at-home testing kits that can help a person determine whether they have any risk factors. The new state-of-the-art technology is changing how we detect breast cancer, and it does so with comfort in mind.
This means you can begin to relax. Getting a mammogram is going to be less invasive and painful.
The doctors will be able to detect more problems, depending on the type of machine or equipment they’re using at the time. Statistically speaking, mammograms are 85% accurate in detecting any abnormalities; therefore, that doesn’t mean we should feel like we have a 100% chance of detection when getting such a test.
All you can do is make sure you get annual tests and take care of yourself. If your doctor does order a mammogram for you and it shows something abnormal – like, say a lump – you’ll most likely want to take the next step in figuring out what it is. This might even involve a biopsy. They can remove the tissue for testing and then determine whether cancer has taken hold or not. In some cases, the test might show an abnormality that’s benign (not cancerous).
The good news is, even biopsies take half the time they used to. There’s a new machine out that is precise in how it takes a biopsy, increasing the comfort level for the patient. So, if you’re one of the millions of women who hate getting a mammogram, take heart that things are changing for the better.
Talking About It Helps
Sometimes, having the right perspective and understanding can change your experience. This includes getting mammograms. Studies have reported that women who talk about their experiences and know what to expect actually feel less pain.
Mammography can be uncomfortable, and the discomfort isn’t the only enemy: fear can make it worse. Doing your research and planning ahead can prepare you. You also should make yourself open about how you feel. Oftentimes, technologists can ease the pain a bit if you tell them about a certain pinch or pull that’s bothering you. Don’t be afraid to speak up!
Ultimately, it’s important for your health to get regular mammograms. You may look forward to a time when it’s no longer necessary, but it’s not likely to happen anytime soon. Mammograms are still the best way to detect breast cancer early. And the earlier it’s detected, the better your chances of survival.
The diagnosis and treatment of cancer have come a long way, but it’s still difficult to detect this disease in its earliest stages. The best time for your yearly mammogram is right after your period, when the breast tissue is least dense.
To learn more about mammograms and to schedule one for yourself, be sure to visit https://amimaging.com/womens-center/mammography/.
Advanced Medical Imaging
7601 Pioneers Blvd
Lincoln Nebraska 68506
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