Monday, November 17, 2008

Annual Mammogram Pays OFF!

National Mammography Day is October 17th

“Mammography plays a critical part in diagnosing breast cancer. In the past, we'd often find that a woman had breast cancer when she came in with a lump. Today, the cancers radiologists find on mammography are usually detected early, before they can be felt by the patient, are smaller than cancers felt by patients, and have much lower levels of lymph node involvement.” Susan Greenstein Orel M.D.

I recieved my yearly mammogram in October and I filled out a little card and my health insurance provider sent me a $25.00 Gift Card to Shaws Super Market - to celebrate October 17th which is National Mammography Day!. So literally my breast exam paid off!!

But seriously Ladies please remember to make sure you get your yearly mammogram. Don't wait until it is too late - early detection can help save your life!.

See more below.

4 Important Things to Know About Mammograms

1. They can save your life. Finding breast cancer early reduces your risk of dying from the disease by 25 - 30% or more. Women should begin having mammograms yearly at age 40, or earlier if they're at high risk.

2. Don't be afraid. It's a fast procedure (about 5 - 10 minutes), and discomfort is minimal. The procedure is safe: there's only a very tiny amount of radiation exposure from a mammogram. To relieve the anxiety of waiting for results, go to a center that will give you results before you leave.

3. Get the best quality you can. If you have dense breasts or are under age 50, try to get a digital mammogram.

o Bring your old mammogram films with you for comparison.
o Have more than one radiologist read your study.
o Ask if your center has CAD—computer aided detection—which calls the radiologist's attention to any possible areas of concern.
o Make sure the doctor who referred you for the mammogram includes an explicit note when ordering the study (providing clinical correlations—e.g. "palpable mass in the upper outer quadrant, rule out abnormality").
o Correlate your results with other tests you've had done, like ultrasound or MRI.
o Discuss your family history of breast and other cancers—from both your mother's AND father's side—with your doctor.

4. It is our most powerful breast cancer detection tool. However, mammograms can still miss 15—20% of breast cancers that are simply not visible using this technique. Other important tools—such as breast self-exam, clinical breast examination, ultrasound, and MRI—can and should be used as complementary tools, but there are no substitutes or replacements for a mammogram. —Marisa Weiss, M.D.

When to get a mammogram

There's a lot of confusion out there about when and how often to get a mammogram. For now, the recommendation is that women get a mammogram once a year, beginning at age 40. If you're at high risk for breast cancer, with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, or have had radiation treatment to the chest in the past, it's recommended that you start having annual mammograms at a younger age (often beginning around age 30). This, however, is something that you should discuss with your healthcare provider.


Mammography is the process of using low-dose X-rays (usually around 0.7 mSv) to examine the human breast. The goal of mammography is the early detection of breast cancer, typically through detection of characteristic masses and/or microcalcifications. Mammography is believed to reduce mortality from breast cancer. No other imaging technique has been shown to reduce risk, but breast self-examination (BSE) and physician examination are considered essential parts of regular breast care.

In many countries routine mammography of older women is encouraged as a screening method to diagnose early breast cancer. The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening mammography, with or without clinical breast examination, every 1-2 years for women aged 40 and older.[1]

Like all x-rays, mammograms use doses of ionizing radiation to create images. Radiologists then analyze the image for any abnormal findings. It is normal to use longer wavelength X-rays (typically Mo-K) than those used for radiography of bones.
At this time, mammography along with physical breast examination is the modality of choice for screening for early breast cancer. Ultrasound, ductography, and magnetic resonance imaging are adjuncts to mammography. Ultrasound is typically used for further evaluation of masses found on mammography or palpable masses not seen on mammograms. Ductograms are still used in some institutions for evaluation of bloody nipple discharge when the mammogram is non-diagnostic. MRI can be useful for further evaluation of questionable findings as well as for screening pre-surgical evaluation in patients with known breast cancer to detect any additional lesions that might change the surgical approach, for instance from breast-conserving lumpectomy to mastectomy. New procedures, not yet approved for use in the general public, including breast tomosynthesis may offer benefits in years to come.

Mammography has a false-negative (missed cancer) rate of at least 10 percent. This is partly due to dense tissues obscuring the cancer and the fact that the appearance of cancer on mammograms has a large overlap with the appearance of normal tissues.

1 comment:

Sophia Jason said...

Mammogram may help detect breast cancer, but it won’t prevent it. To prevent breast cancer we need to take individual and collective action. Thanks for sharing the information. I came across a website that also suggest ways to battle against cancer, here is the site