Women over the age of 40 are encouraged to receive annual mammograms. This procedure can detect possible breast cancer earlier than self breast exams or clinical breast exams.
What is a Mammogram?
A mammogram is a quick in-office procedure that utilizes small amounts of radiation to take X-rays of the breasts in order to look for possible abnormalities.
Our Cancer Center uses digital mammogram technology, which allows for faster, clearer image processing than the traditional film method.
A woman stands in front of an X-ray machine during a mammogram. Each breast is compressed between two plates for a few seconds for an X-ray. Compressing the breast helps to provide a clearer image and allows the X-ray to sample more breast tissue. A mammogram is not usually painful, but may provide slight discomfort.
A mammogram typically takes about 20 minutes to perform. A board-certified radiologist interprets the images, and your physician will be provided with the results within five business days.
A doctor's order is not required to schedule a mammogram, but results will be sent to your doctor.
What if an abnormality is detected?
If an abnormality or cancer is detected during your mammogram, your physician will work with you to develop a treatment or care plan. Frequently, follow-up tests are performed to verify and help guide you and your physician's treatment plan.
Other Breast Cancer Screenings
In addition to mammograms, women of all ages are encouraged to participate in regular breast cancer screenings, including:
- Monthly self breast exams (ages 20+)
- Clinical breast exams (every 2 to 3 years for 20+, and yearly after age 40).
Factors that Contribute to Breast Cancer
Cancer screenings provide early detection, but some women are more predisposed for breast cancer than others. Knowing the common risk factors can help you better work with your physician to develop a regular cancer screening schedule.
- Gender: women are far more likely to get breast cancer than men.
- Age: the risk for breast cancer increases as a woman ages
- Family history of breast cancer:
- Relatives on either side of the family with breast cancer
- Women and men are equally at risk
- Inherited genetic mutations may play a role in breast cancer
- Race: White and black women have the highest incidents of breast cancer.
- Previous abnormal results
Risk factors serve as early warnings, but are not a substitute for breast cancer screenings. If you have questions about your risk factors and possible risk for breast cancer, please contact your physician.
Schedule your mammogram today by calling (801) 357-1100.