Cancer rates are increasing at a fast pace, with breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer being the most common ones. The number of new cancer cases per year is expected to rise to 23.6 million by 2030, making it increasingly important to get regular check-ups and screenings done.
Since breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women, they should be aware of the importance and need for mammograms. This article will tell you about mammograms and how it plays an important role in staying safe and preventing the disease.
A Mammogram is an X-ray that is used to check for breast cancer in women who have shown signs of the disease. It's also used in cases where women have absolutely no symptoms or signs of breast cancer to help with early detection.
Mammograms are of two kinds:
Screening mammograms: Screening mammograms are used in women who show no symptoms of cancer. In screening mammograms, X-rays are taken from two angles of each breast.
Diagnostic mammograms: Diagnostic mammograms are used in cases where something unusual is found in a woman's breast during a screening mammogram. This kind of screening is done in breast cancer survivors as well.
There are many reasons why you should consider getting a mammogram done.
Mammograms help detect changes in the breast up to two or three years earlier than usual physical examination. Though physical examinations are a good practice, it cannot detect changes in the breast initially, especially if these changes are very small.
Mammograms help in early detection of abnormalities like masses and calcifications in the breast. It can detect a lump when it is still small and much before a lump can even be felt.
Since mammograms can detect a tumour at an early stage, it can reduce your risk of dying from breast cancer by almost 30% or much more.
Since mammograms help detect cancer very early, it gives physicians more treatment options. Breast cancer, if detected early greatly reduces the chances of a woman going through a mastectomy and also makes it possible for a tumour to be removed with a simple surgery.
Detecting cancer early also gives your doctor time to decide on what kind of treatment would work best for you. This could either mean chemotherapy or radiation, etc.
When you get annual screenings done regularly, there are more imaging records gained of your normal breast tissue. This makes future irregularities easier to identify and detect. In case you have a dense breast tissue or family history related to breast cancer, then your doctor may recommend detailed imaging such as a 3D mammogram.
Doctors usually recommend getting a mammogram done every year once you've reached the age of 40.
Mammograms hardly take about 20 minutes with minimal discomfort for most women.
Mammograms only have a tiny bit of radiation exposure. It's done by taking an X-ray of the breast, but this is safe as the radiation is much lower than of a normal X-ray.
It's important to reach out to your doctor with any concerns or queries, especially, if you notice something abnormal in your breasts or if you have a family history of breast cancer.