Scheduling that annual mammogram – it’s easy to put off and misconceptions may prompt some women to avoid it. Are there risks involved? Does the procedure always detect a cancer? Are women misdiagnosed due to a false positive?
The truth is the benefits of regular mammograms far outweigh any risk. A mammogram is a non-invasive X-ray that uses a very low dose of radiation to detect cancer in the breast. The biggest risk is that while mammograms are very good at detecting breast cancer early, there is not a guarantee. Still, a false negative or false positive, while stressful, cannot usurp the value of mammograms for catching breast cancer early when it is treatable.
Whether a woman’s health and family history place her at low risk or high risk for developing breast cancer, every woman should receive annual mammograms beginning at age 40.
Accurate test results
The vast majority of women will receive normal test results with no abnormalities. If abnormalities are detected, additional tests are done to determine if the there is cancer.
Digital mammography has greatly improved the accuracy of mammograms because it gives doctors a three-dimensional image of the breast in slices and at different angles. This is especially important for women with very dense breasts. In breasts that are more dense – containing less fatty tissue and more fibrous tissue – cancer can be hidden or dense tissue that is normal can appear to be cancer.
The tomosyntheses 3D mammography used at Stark Women’s Center provides patients with more accurate results and far fewer false positives.
Scheduling annual mammograms
An annual mammogram is crucial for every woman even if she has no family history or is considered at low risk. A doctor’s prescription is not needed. Every woman 40 and over may schedule a mammogram simply by calling.
At Stark Women’s Center your annual mammogram is considered a critical part of your overall health. Both standard and 3D mammograms greatly improve your odds of surviving cancer and the possibility of saving your breast by detecting cancer even before it can be felt through a breast exam.
Call our office today to learn more about our services and to schedule your mammogram.