Mammograms are nothing new, and yet there are still many women who have not realized just how important they are to have. In fact, despite the many events, commercials, social media posts, etc. that get done every October, there are numerous women who still ask the question, “Do I really need to have a mammogram?”
The answer? A resounding, YES!
The mammogram, also known as a mastography, x-ray, or screening, is used to screen women for breast cancer. It is a low-dose x-ray that takes a picture of the breast and is used to identify if breast cancer is a concern. It is recommended that all women begin having annual screenings for breast health at the age of 40 (remove link) and continue to get them each year until the age of 55; at 55, it is acceptable to switch to getting a mammogram every 1-2 years based on American Cancer Society guidelines.
5 Reasons to Get a Mammogram
Mammography is a relatively quick procedure (20 minutes) that when performed as recommended, can make a life-long difference. Here are several reasons not to put off scheduling your mammogram:
- A mammogram can save your life -and your breasts. Getting screened can lower the risk of death due to breast cancer by 30%. And, while the recommended age for screening is 40,it may be started at a younger age if you have family history of breast cancer in the 40s.
- There is nothing to be afraid of. A mammogram only takes about 20 minutes and presents minimal pain or discomfort. However, if a mammogram is unclear or portions of the breast tissue are not fully visible then it may necessary to have additional tests such as ultrasound performed. This occurs in about 10 – 20% of mammograms.
- No reason to be concerned about radiation. Yes, there is a slight exposure to radiation, but it is less than a normal x-ray. Again, the earlier cancer is detected the better!
- You have noticed a change in your breasts. If you have any of the following changes, then it is time to schedule a mammogram:
- Unusual swelling
- Skin irritation
- Breast pain
- Nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
- Thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- Nipple discharge other than milk
- A lump in the underarm area
- Don’t cut corners in choosing to get a mammogram! If your breasts are dense, or you are under the age of 50, then a 3D digital mammogram is recommended. This type of mammogram allows radiologists to better assess the breasts for a more reliable screening.
Breast Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer in women (lung cancer is first). One in 8 women in the US will develop breast cancer. However, when detected early it is 99% curable.
Getting a mammogram is not something to take lightly. Don’t put it off, or just assume that because no one else in your family has had breast cancer, that you are not at risk. Contact us today at (512) 425-3825 to order a mammogram. Our team at OBGYN in Austin TX is happy to answer all your questions and make the experience as positive as possible.
Additional Resources on Mammograms: