It is estimated that in the US approximately one in eight women suffer from breast cancer. Breast cancer could be cured if treated at an early stage. To detect this deadly disease at an early stage, every adult woman, even the ones without a personal or family history of breast cancer should be frequently screened for breast cancer tumors. Mammogram is the conventional screening tool that is used for detecting the presence of breast cancer tumors.
Frequency of breast mammogram
Most organizations of health professionals including the American Academy of Family Physicians and American College of Physicians suggest that annual mammography screening is necessary for women from the age of 50. However, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Cancer Society, annual mammography screen should begin from the age of 40. The US Preventive Services Task Force recommend biennial mammography screen for women between 50 and 75 years of age.
Often fear of unwanted exposure to radiation prevents healthy women, especially the ones between 40 and 50 years of age, from taking the breast cancer screening test. However, the risk of breast cancer could not be ruled off among women under 50. Breast mammogram helps to detect breast cancer at the earliest stage, when neither the cancer patient nor the physician could notice any change in the breast.
An early mammography is recommended for women if they have at least two first or second-degree relatives with breast cancer. You should start mammography as soon as you reach 40, if at least three first or second relatives are breast cancer patients. After consulting their physicians, elderly women could stop mammography after 74.
Breast mammogram procedure
Breast mammogram is a slightly uncomfortable procedure. The breast is squeezed between an upper plastic plate and a bottom x-ray plate. Compressing the breast could be slightly uncomfortable or painful. Fortunately, it would take not more than a few seconds to capture the image. Mammography is a safe process. Advanced mammography machines produce lower doses of radiation that could hardly cause any damage to your body. Before going for a breast mammogram, do not apply any powder, deodorant or lotion on your breasts and underarms.