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Don’t Put Off Mammogram Screenings
By Deepali Patni, MD
Although early detection and mammogram screenings are a popular topic in October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this should be a year-round conversation. The value of detecting breast cancer early and kicking it to the curb can be a life-saving proposition.
Breast cancer ranks as the most common type of cancer for women in the United States after skin cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), in 2023, 297,790 women are estimated to be diagnosed with breast cancer and an estimated 43,170 women are expected to die from it.
Women have more treatment options available when breast cancer is discovered early – at a stage 0, 1, or 2. And the best way to ensure early detection is by following the recommended mammogram screenings.
Reasons Women Give for Putting Off Their Mammogram
Unfortunately, women find all kinds of reasons to avoid a mammogram. Do any of the following sound familiar?
- I'm so busy with my work and family. It's hard to find time.
- I'm afraid it’s going to hurt.
- There’s no history of breast cancer in my family, so I’m OK.
Women lead busy lives, but life doesn’t slow down for your health. Make your health a priority and make time for yourself to help ensure you’re there for your loved ones in the future.
While having a mammogram is a little awkward, it’s a relatively painless, quick (and crucial) step toward prevention or early diagnosis.
About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer, so it’s still necessary to be screened even if you have no history of breast cancer in your family.
Through the years, technology has evolved in the mammography world as in other areas in medicine. 3D mammography (digital breast tomosynthesis) is considered best practice breast cancer-detecting technology in women’s health. These 3D images enable breast tissue to be viewed in individual segments.
This technology is especially relevant for women with dense breasts because it decreases the chance of getting false positives and heightens the ability to view smaller tumors.
Get It Done
Women over the age of 40 are encouraged to schedule mammograms as recommended, even without symptoms. One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, says the American Cancer Society. Early screening is the best method to catch tumors before they can even be felt. At many Kelsey-Seybold locations, mammograms can be scheduled for the same day as a well-woman exam.
Women with a family history of breast cancer should speak with their doctor about the age to begin mammogram screenings.