Breast cancer is among the most common and serious types of cancers that primarily occurs in women. As with all other types of cancers, the cancerous cells can begin to spread to other areas of the body if not caught early enough, which is something that makes the cancer much more difficult to get rid of. If you want to successfully treat your breast cancer, it’s essential that the cancer is caught early on. The best way to identify the presence of cancer in the breasts is by obtaining a mammogram, which is a very simple screening that will provide you with accurate results and will allow you to take the steps necessary to get the right treatment.
What Is a Mammogram?
A mammogram is a straightforward x-ray that focuses solely on the breast. While mammograms can be used for a variety of different applications, they are typically designed to screen for breast cancer. In the event that a lump or abnormality is identified by the mammogram, it’s important to understand that you could still be provided with additional mammograms, exams, and tests that are meant to deliver a full diagnosis. The reason that these extra tests are required is because an abnormality on the mammogram doesn’t always mean that you have cancer. In fact, the lump could be completely benign, which is what the additional tests and mammograms will determine. If the abnormality is found to be cancerous, treatment options will begin to be explored.
Top Reasons You Should Obtain a Mammogram
If you’ve recently been thinking about obtaining a mammogram, there are many reasons why you should get one of these screenings. By scheduling a mammogram screening, you’ll be able to identify if a lump or mass is cancerous, which will allow you to obtain early treatment. The following is a closer look at six reasons that you should get a mammogram.
1. A Mammogram Reduces Deaths
Among the best reasons to obtain a mammogram is that this type of screening has significantly reduced deaths related to breast cancer for the past few decades. Since 1990, deaths from breast cancer in the U.S. have been reduced by upwards of 30 percent. Scheduling one of these screenings is easily the most effective thing that you can do to reduce your chances of dying because of breast cancer.
2. There’s Always a Risk of Developing Breast Cancer
While breast cancer oftentimes develops in older women, it can occur at practically any age, which means there’s never a bad time to obtain a mammogram. However, it’s highly recommended that you focus on obtaining an annual mammogram once you reach the age of 40. After age 40, your risk of developing breast cancer will increase substantially. Getting a regular mammogram means that you’ll have a much higher chance of catching breast cancer while it’s in the early stages. It’s also important to note that you should never think that you’re too old to obtain a mammogram. Even women over the age of 70 should get annual mammograms.
3. Mammograms Allow for Better Treatment Options
Likely the most important reason to get regular mammogram screenings is that mammograms allow for better treatment options because of early detection. By scheduling these screenings on a regular basis, you should be able to significantly reduce the possibility that the cancer has spread by the time that it’s detected. When this cancer is detected early, it allows for very aggressive treatment that may be able to get rid of all of the cancer cells within the breast. Most early forms of treatment can also be handled in an outpatient capacity.
4. Most Women Who Develop Breast Cancer Have No Risk Factors
For most health conditions, people will look at the risk factors to determine if they are susceptible to the disease or illness in question. However, this doesn’t exactly work with breast cancer. In fact, the majority of women who develop breast cancer have no risk factors whatsoever. It’s been found that around 75-85 percent of all women will have no notable risk factors or family history of cancer, which means that it’s impossible for you to rule out the chance that you will develop breast cancer in the future. American women have a 12 percent lifetime risk of suffering from breast cancer. Since you can’t fully prevent breast cancer from occurring, the only way to mitigate the risk of breast cancer is to get a regular mammogram screening and stay informed.
5. It’s Possible to Obtain Quick Results
While obtaining a mammogram is very important for any woman who wishes to safeguard their health, it’s understandable that you might not want to deal with the significant amount of anxiety that can come with waiting for the results of a mammogram. If this is the main reason why you haven’t scheduled a mammogram, there are plenty of mammogram providers that offer same-day results, which means that your waiting time will be brief. You might also want to look for a provider that offers 3D mammograms. These mammograms are known for being able to catch breast cancer at the earliest of stages, which makes successful treatment all the more likely. There are also much less false positives with this type of mammogram.
6. Mammogram Procedure is Very Short
Another great reason to get a mammogram is that the procedure is actually very short, which means that you don’t need to worry about being at the doctor’s office for hours on end. In most cases, this screening will be completed in around 15-20 minutes. Four x-rays will be taken of the breast from different angles to ensure that every area on the breast is captured. To lessen the chance that the mammogram is uncomfortable, make sure that you don’t schedule it for the week during or before your period. It’s possible that your breasts will be swollen at that time, which can make the mammogram more uncomfortable.
Now that you know why you should get a mammogram, you should schedule your screening today!