3d breast ultrasound screening (abus), Biopsy, Tomosynthesis

Mammograms Save Lives, So It’s Important To Have One

One of the most common and most treatable cancers is breast cancer. As with most cancers, the risk of breast cancer goes up as you get older. Among 50-54 year olds, abotu 22 of every 10,000 women get breast cancer. Though the risk is much lower for younger women, tens of thousands of women under the age of 50 are diagnosed with the disease every year. One of the best things you can do to help make sure breast cancer is diagnosed at an early stage when it is more treatable is to get a mammogram.

Mammograms are essentially x-rays of the breasts. It sounds low tech, but it actually is a very good screening method. Mammography plays a big role in detecting cancers early and improving survival. Studies show that having a mammogram can reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer anywhere from 20% to 40%. Such screening is particularly important for older women. Women ages 60-69 are more likely than all other age groups to avoid death from breast cancer by having a mammogram.

Mammograms can be expensive, but if you have health insurance it typically will cover the cost if you meet screening guidelines. The American Cancer Society recommends that women with an average risk of breast cancer start having mammograms between their 40th and 45th birthdays. Women with an enhanced risk, such as a direct relative with breast cancer or another risk factor such as a genetic marker, should start mammogram screenings earlier.

Though traditional mammograms still do a good job of detecting cancer at an early stage, there are more advanced options, such as 3D mammography. 3D mammography, also called breast tomosynthesis, uses multiple x-rays to create a three-dimensional picture. That can help doctors better see a potential tumor. In addition, those who need additional screening can take advantage of ultrasound screening, including 3D ultrasound.

As with many other medical screening tests, mammograms can be uncomfortable. To get an accurate picture requires squeezing each breast in the mammogram machine to make them as flat as possible and get the best pictures. However, the short-term discomfort is worth it when you realize how much of a difference mammograms can make in the early detection of breast cancer and the survival of people who have it.

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