A woman has a one-in-eight chance of developing breast cancer in her lifetime. Each year in the United States, 190,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer, and 40,000 of those women succumb to the disease. But if detected and treated early, breast cancer has a high survival rate.
Intermountain Healthcare, along with the American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology, and many other experts from around the country recommend the following breast cancer screening guidelines:
- Women age 20-39: Perform a breast self-exam monthly and a clinical breast exam every three years.
- Women age 40 and over: Perform a breast self-exam monthly, a clinical breast exam yearly, and have a annual mammogram.
If you have a family history of breast cancer you should talk to your physician about beginning mammogram screenings earlier.
The Six Most Important Things to Know About Mammograms
While mammograms can’t prevent breast cancer, they save lives by detecting breast cancer and allowing you and your doctor to create a plan of action.
Today, we hear various reports claiming that mammograms aren’t necessary. However, screening mammography is the only test proven in multiple clinical trials to save lives.
Here are the top six facts you need to know about mammograms:
- Since the implementation of screening mammography in the early 1990s, deaths from breast cancer have fallen by more than 30 percent. Researchers at Intermountain Healthcare have shown that women are more likely to survive breast cancer if tumors are found during mammography rather than during a clinical exam.
- Mammography is a fast and safe procedure. Those who have a mammography have a small amount of radiation exposure. As for the discomfort, mammography tests are about 20 minutes long and discomfort is minimal. Some women don’t feel it at all.
- An unusual result that presents itself during a mammogram does not mean you have breast cancer. For every 1,000 women who have a mammogram only 100 are called for further testing and five are diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Mammograms can detect cancer early by showing changes in the breast up to two years before you can feel them. These early detections can prevent the need for extensive chemotherapy treatment.
- 85 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. Many women mistakenly believe that if they have no family history of breast cancer, they don’t need a mammogram and are not considered high-risk.
- Utah women have the second-lowest mammogram screening rate in the country. Every year, approximately 1,200 Utah women are diagnosed with breast cancer and about 250 die. Screening mammography can help reduce those numbers.
You don't need a referral from your doctor to get a mammogram. Make an appointment today at any Intermountain screening facility in the Salt Lake Valley by calling (801) 507-7840.
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Blog: Mammograms at 40 Still Save Lives