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Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2017: Can Mammograms Detect Breast Cancer?

Mammography plays a central part in early detection of breast cancers because it can often show changes in the breast before a patient or physician can feel them. This breast cancer awareness month, know the relevance of mammography in breast cancer detection.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2017: Can Mammograms Detect Breast Cancer?

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: How relevant are mammograms for BC detection?

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Mammography plays a central part in early detection of breast cancers
  2. It can often show changes in the breast before it can be felt
  3. Annual mammograms can lead to early detection of breast cancers

Breast Cancer is a cancer that forms in tissues of the breast, usually in the ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (glands that make milk). It can occur in both men and women, although male breast cancer is rare. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in American women. About one woman in eight will be diagnosed with the disease over the course of her lifetime. In order to detect breast cancer screening examination tests are performed to find disease before symptoms begin. The goal of screening is to detect disease at its earliest and most treatable stage.

A low-dose x-ray exam that produces images of the breast is called a mammogram. It can also be used if you have a lump or some other sign of breast cancer. Screening mammography is the type of mammogram that checks you when you have no symptoms. Mammography plays a central part in early detection of breast cancers because it can often show changes in the breast before a patient or physician can feel them. This breast cancer awareness month, know the relevance of mammography in breast cancer detection.

breast cancer awareness month 2017

Photo Credit: iStock

During mammography, a specially qualified radiologic technologist will position your breast in the mammography unit. Your breast will be placed on a special platform and compressed with a paddle (often made of clear Plexiglas or other plastic). The technologist will gradually compress your breast and while you hold still, an image will be taken producing a top-to-bottom view of the breast. You will be asked to change positions so that the side view of the breast can also be produced.

Research has also shown that annual mammograms can lead to early detection of breast cancers when they are most curable and breast-conservation therapies are available. A mammogram may also find ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), abnormal cells in the lining of a breast duct that may develop into invasive cancer. Mammography is the only breast cancer screening tool known to reduce deaths from the disease.

Modern-day mammography only involves a tiny amount of radiation - even less than a standard chest X-ray. Mammograms do not prevent breast cancer, but they can save lives by finding breast cancer as early as possible. Some important things you should know about mammograms are:

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 even earlier if they are at high risk.

2. Do not be afraid

 Mammography is a fast procedure (about 20 minutes), and discomfort is minimal for most women. The procedure is safe: there is 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. A digital mammogram is recorded onto a computer so that doctors can enlarge certain sections to look at them more closely. 



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