As we enter Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2019, questions continue to be raised about the value of mammograms. That fact is, technology today provides screening and diagnostic options that can be more effective whatever your circumstances, and possibly save your life.
The ability of a mammogram to detect abnormalities in breast tissue is affected by the density of breast tissue and the size of the abnormality, such as a tumor. The risk of a woman getting breast cancer varies based upon family history and genetics, as well as use of hormone therapy and one’s overall health. Women are advised to get a mammogram annually beginning at age 45, with additional direction suggested based on individual risk factors and potential symptoms or signs detected by the patient or in a screening mammogram.
So, what can you do to protect yourself?
Tell your doctor about signs you may have noticed that could indicate breast cancer, such as breast pain, thickening of breast skin, a change in the shape of your breast, or a lump.
Ask your doctor about the benefits of a diagnostic mammogram. Any of the above signs could suggest a need for a diagnostic mammogram rather than a screening mammogram.
Diagnostic mammogram vs. screening mammogram
The routine screening mammogram is an x-ray of the breast that seeks to locate potential suspicious spots, while a diagnostic mammogram uses technology to obtain a more detailed x-ray of those suspicious spots to determine if they are cancerous.
A diagnostic mammogram will take more views of the breast and allow the administrator to zoom in and enlarge specific areas for a closer look. It takes longer than a standard screening, but such detailed technology can detect abnormal cells and tumors that are too small to feel.
At Stark Women’s Center, we are focused on providing the most detailed mammography possible. Our Tomosynthesis 3D Mammography is a digital mammogram designed to detect breast cancer early. Mammograms are administered and interpreted by radiologists who are registered and trained in the technology. Click here to learn more.
Whether you are 45, 55 or 60, have a family history of breast cancer or not, mammography continues to be the best way to detect and successfully treat breast cancer. According to statistics from Susan G. Koman, mammography correctly identifies breast cancer in 87% of women screened.
If you have questions about your breast cancer risk or would like to schedule a mammogram, call our office today.