I am sure you already know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. My friend Kat wrote a guest post on my blog calling October “Pink-tober” because the pink washing of America can be a bit overbearing at times. However, the core goals and ideas of Breast Cancer Awareness Month are still just as important as when it was first proclaimed. Today I am going to tell it to you straight…below are the facts and GO GET A MAMMOGRAM!!
Just the Facts
For every 1,000 women who have a screening mammogram:
- 100 are recalled to get more mammography or ultrasound images
- 20 are recommended for a needle biopsy
- 5 are diagnosed with breast cancer
What Is a Mammogram?
A mammogram is a specific type of breast exam used to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women. This quick medical exam uses a noninvasive X-ray targeted to each breast, producing pictures that your doctor can use to identify and treat any abnormal areas, possibly indicating the presence of cancer.
Why Are Mammograms Important?
Annual mammograms can detect cancer early — when it is most treatable. In fact, mammograms show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Mammograms can also prevent the need for extensive treatment for advanced cancers and improve chances of breast conservation. Current guidelines from the American College of Radiology, the American Cancer Society, and the Society for Breast Imaging recommend that women receive annual mammograms starting at age 40 — even if they have no symptoms or family history of breast cancer. http://www.mammographysaveslives.org/
Misinformation and misunderstanding about mammography often leads to fear and avoidance of the screening that can detect early cancers. For example, many women fear that radiation to the breasts might actually do more harm than good, yet research shows that women tend to overestimate the amount of radiation used during mammography. Additionally, the radiation dose associated with digital mammography is significantly lower (averaging 22% lower) than that of conventional film mammography, especially for women with larger and denser breasts.
Another common concern about mammography is that of false positives, and the fear of being called back for more tests. However, 3D mammography (also known as tomosynthesis) can find significantly more cancers than traditional mammography. The use of 3D mammography can reduce call-backs by up to 15%, particularly among younger women and those with dense breast tissue.
Since I live in Southern New Jersey I had my mammogram done at South Jersey Radiology. All mammography done at South Jersey Radiology Associates is digital, and SJRA is the first site in the region to offer 3D mammography. In fact, SJRA Women’s Centers have been designated as Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. They have multiple locations throughout New Jersey, which you can find on their website at http://www.sjra.com/.
Disclosure: This was a sponsored post.