1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. While this statistic may be alarming, breast cancer screening is the single most important factor to early detection.
What is the Importance of Screening for Breast Cancer?
Regular screening mammograms is your best chance of finding cancer in its earliest stages — when it’s more treatable and hasn’t spread.
It is important to know what is normal for your breast tissue. If you notice changes, contact your doctor. Breast self- exams should be a monthly routine.
When Should I Start Getting Mammograms?
A mammogram is the single most useful test women can take to find early stages of breast cancer. Not only to detect abnormalities but also to have a record of your healthy breast tissues for comparison in future tests.
As per the American Cancer Society, women should follow the below screening guidelines:
- Ages 40-44: consider starting annual breast cancer screening
- Ages 45-54: get a mammogram every year
- Age 55+: continue annual screening or switch to biannual
Screenings should continue if a woman is in good health and expected to live another 10 or more years.
Note: due to family history or other factors, a small percentage of women should be screened with MRIs along with mammograms to aid in breast cancer detection. Speak with your doctor about your breast cancer risk and determine the best screening plan for you.
What Are 3D Mammograms and What Makes Them Different?
Traditional mammography provides a great 2D view of the breast, but with so many overlapping structures it’s sometimes challenging to pick out abnormalities. 3D Mammography is an advanced screening and diagnostic tool that provides detailed images of different angles of the breast.
Think of a 3D mammogram like the pages of a book. Multiple images are taken from many different angles so that the doctor can clearly see the milk ducts, blood vessels, fat, and ligaments. Each image (or page of a book) can be studied individually, to discover abnormalities better. This can help detect breast cancer sooner and reduce the need for additional imaging (Diagnostic mammograms).
When you’re ready for your next mammogram, our Women’s Imaging Center is here for you. With 2D and 3D Mammography technologies available, schedule your next appointment here at Kirby Medical Center: (217)762-1826.