Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Mammograms are an important first step in taking care of yourself and of your breasts. A mammogram is a procedure that involves a low dose x-ray that allows radiologists to look for changes in breast tissue that may not be normal. Whether you or a loved one is worried about developing breast cancer, this information will help you find the answers you seek.

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posted on 10/2/2019 in BLOGS from St. Anthony

When Should I Start Mammograms?

Through the years, medical opinions have changed about when women should have their first mammography. The American Cancer Society published the current guidelines below.

Bear in mind that women considered at “high risk” – because of family history, a breast condition, or another reason – need to begin screening earlier and more often. In addition, all women, no matter what age you are, should let your doctor know about any change to your breasts.

  • Women 40 - 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast) if they wish to do so.
  • Women 45 - 54 should get mammograms every year.
  • Women 55 and older may now change to mammograms every 2 years or can continue yearly screening.
  • Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10+ years.

3D Mammograms

3D mammograms are imaging tests that combine multiple x-rays to create a 3D image of a breast. They are becoming more common but are not yet available at all medical facilities. Combining a 3D mammogram with a standard mammogram has a variety of benefits.

First, it may reduce the need for follow-up imaging. When abnormalities on standard mammogram images are detected, doctors may recommend additional imaging. Being called back for additional imaging can be stressful and may lead to additional costs. In addition, 3D mammograms offer advantages in detecting breast cancer in people with dense breast tissue because the 3D image allows doctors to see beyond areas of density.

Importance of Self-Exams

Regular breast self-exams help increase your awareness of the normal look and feel of your breasts. By becoming more aware, you can more easily determine whether there have been any changes to your breasts. While this is not the most effective means of detecting cancer, doctors believe there is value in self-exams so that women can promptly report any changes. Note that cancer is just one condition that may cause changes in your breasts.

St. Anthony Regional Hospital (Carroll, IA) is dedicated to improving the health of the people we serve. We believe in providing high quality, healthcare services responsive to the needs of our patients. For more information, visit our website or call us at 712-792-3581. Follow us on Facebook!

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Sources:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/3d-mammogram/about/pac-20438708
https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/what-to-know-about-getting-a-mammogram.html
https://www.cancer.org/healthy/find-cancer-early/cancer-screening-guidelines/american-cancer-society-guidelines-for-the-early-detection-of-cancer.html
https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/breast-exam/about/pac-20393237

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