Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), over 250,000 women get diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the USA. Though women are the most affected, men are also susceptible to this killer disease, with roughly 2300 men affected every year. The CDC also estimates that about 40,000 women and 500 men die every year because of breast cancer. There are several risk factors for breast cancer, such as age (most breast cancers are diagnosed after the age of 50), having dense breasts (breasts with more connective tissues than fatty issues are at higher risk), family history with breast cancer, and previous treatment with radiation therapy. Being overweight and physically inactive also predisposes you to breast cancer. To prevent this disease, the American Cancer Society recommends women above the age of 40 visit a breast surgeon in Lincoln, NE, for breast cancer screening with mammograms every year until the age of 45. Women above the age of 55 should undergo screening every two years.
What Is A Mammogram
Simply put, a mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breasts. Doctors and oncologists use mammograms to look for early signs of breast cancer before they can be felt by touch. After performing the mammography, the doctor will carefully examine the image for areas of high density or abnormal growth. They pay careful attention to the shape, size, and contrast of any unusual growth because this may indicate possible malignancy. If the doctors suspect breast cancer, they may order a patient to undergo additional tests with additional magnification. They may also order a biopsy in which a small tissue is removed to be examined further.
Why Should You Get A Mammogram?
Here are 6 good reasons why you should book an appointment with your doctor for a mammogram.
- Early Detection Can Save Your Life
According to statistics, breast cancer that has been detected early has a 5-year relative survival rate of 99 percent. When you compare this figure to the 5-year relative survival rate of when cancer spreads to the lymph nodes(about 86%) and distant parts of the body(about 28%), the difference is quite staggering. The survival rate of black women is about 9% lower than white women. However, these figures are just an average and a person’s probability of recovery depends on factors such as the size of the tumor found, how well the tumor responds to treatment and how aggressive the tumor’s growth is.
- Cancer Or An Abnormality Can’t Always Be Felt
For over 30 years now, regular screening mammography has been the only effective way of detecting breast cancer early. It enables doctors to catch unusual growth before they turn to lumps which can then be detected by self-examination. Self-examination is not the most effective way of detecting breast cancer as it has shown not to reduce the mortality rate of breast cancer. In contrast, since the introduction of mammography in the 1980s, there has been a reduction of about 30% of women dying from breast cancer. Recent developments of better mammography technology such as tomosynthesis (3D mammography) have vastly improved the ability of doctors to detect breast cancer.
- The Risk Increases With Time
The risk of getting breast cancer increases with age. In fact, it is the biggest risk factor for breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, 1 out of 8 breast cancer cases is found in women younger than 45 while 2 out of 3 of all breast cancer detected are found in women older than 55. The reason for this frightening increase is that when we grow older, there are more chances of mutations happening, and the ability of the body to repair itself dwindles significantly.
- It Doesn’t Take Much Time
From checking in to leaving the doctor’s office, the whole process of mammography shouldn’t take more than half an hour. The mammography itself takes between 10-15 minutes. The process is quite straightforward. After removing your bra, you will stand in front of a special X-ray machine and place each breast on a platform. The technician will then lower another plate so that your breasts are compressed flat, and then the X-ray is taken. After the image is taken, your doctor will send you home to await the result of the test.
- They Are Safe
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Mammography Quality and Standards Act regulate equipment and radiation exposure, which helps keep exposure levels within a safe range. Though mammography uses X-rays, they use a lower amount than normal X-rays. Hence, an annual screening will not increase the risk of you getting cancer.
What You Should Expect During A Mammogram
After booking an appointment and checking in to the doctor’s office, you will be instructed to undress from the waist up. You should also not wear any deodorant, powders, or lotion as they can interfere with the X-ray machine. In the exam room, a trained technician will help you place each breast on a plastic platform, and then they will lower an imaging paddle so that your breasts are pressed flat. They will then take several images from multiple positions.
Some women find the process of compressing their breasts uncomfortable and painful and so you should expect your breasts to be sore afterward. Luckily, the process only takes around 10-15 minutes. If you were undergoing a screening mammogram, your doctor may examine the image and send the results to you in around 48 hours. However, should an abnormality be found, you may be required to schedule a diagnostic mammogram and additional tests such as radio imaging.
If you are a woman, having a mammogram is probably one of the best things you can do to help yourself. Understanding what you can expect, how and why a mammogram is done, and how your results will be communicated can help you prepare for your exam. If you are thinking about getting a mammogram, contact Advanced Medical Imaging. We have everything you need for a great experience, including expert technicians, the latest technology, and a caring staff. You can learn more about us by visiting our website https://amimaging.com/breast-center/.
Advanced Medical Imaging ,
7601 Pioneers Blvd Lincoln Nebraska 68506,
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