What Women Need To Know About Mammograms In This Day And Age


What Women Need To Know About Mammograms In This Day And Age

In this day and age, women face a wealth of health complications that will likely keep them up all night long. Any type of cancer is downright frightening, but there is no doubt that breast cancer is even more so. This unique problem does not always cause signs or symptoms and this can make it very difficult to identify and diagnose. Nevertheless, there is one surefire way to identify breast cancer as early as possible. As a female in this day and age, it is absolutely pertinent to better familiarize yourself with the mammogram.

Below, you will learn more about this specific type of x-ray and how it can help you learn more about your current health!

What women need to know about mammograms in this day and age statistics

Surprising Mammograms Statistics

When it comes down to it, a lot of women are frightened at the thought of visiting a hospital or clinic. Nobody likes going to the dentist and most people despise spending a day at the doctor’s office. Nevertheless, you should realize that mammograms are generally very safe at this point in time. Below, you will gain more insight into mammograms by looking at some key statistics. Then, you’ll see that mammography use is very common and the risks are minimal.

  • In 2015, it was estimated that 65.3% of all women over the age of 40 had a mammogram within the past two years
  • Physicians ordered roughly 15 million mammograms during a single year
  • False positive results are actually more common than you might suspect. In general, more than half of women that are screened each year for ten years will experience a false positive.
  • Unfortunately, screening mammograms are not entirely accurate. It is estimated that these tests will miss roughly 20% of breast cancers
  • Mammograms are considered to be very safe. The amount of radiation needed is limited, so the risks are very low

While mammograms are not one-hundred percent accurate, they’re still undeniably a good option for women that want to diagnose breast cancer as early as possible. At the same time, the risks are minimal. Therefore, all women should consider getting a mammogram at least once every year or once every two years.

Mammograms Age To Start

Many women believe that it is a good idea to begin getting mammograms as soon as they enter their late twenties or thirties. This isn’t necessarily true. In fact, a lot of people have become very worried about mammograms during recent years. Many experts and doctors now believe that having annual mammograms too early can cause more harm than good. This is why several groups have changed the recommended starting age. It was previously recommended that women begin getting mammograms every year at the age of 40.

Now, that has been pushed by to the age of 50. Simultaneously, it has been recommended that women only get a mammogram once every two years.

Mammograms After Age 70

It is also worrisome for some that women will continue to undergo mammograms well after they’ve entered the age of 70. This debate has lingered on for many, many years. The United States Preventative Services Task Force believes that it is a good idea for women over the age of 70 to undergo regular mammograms. However, it is recommended that women stop getting tested after the age of 74. The benefits of mammograms for women over the age of 75 and older are unknown or nonexistent. Therefore, you should consider putting a halt to your screenings after you’ve hit 75 years old.

Do Mammograms Cause Cancer?

Since mammograms do utilize a little bit of radiation, many people will be concerned that mammograms could potentially lead to cancer. The truth of the matter is that there is indeed a small risk involved with mammograms. The Institute of Medicine conducted a study in 2012 to determine whether or not mammograms could lead to the development of cancer. The group’s research concluded that roughly 2,800 cases of breast cancer in women were directly linked to medical radiation each year.

In the end, the group suggested that women should avoid unnecessary tests. So, what should you do to avoid the risks, but still ensure that you’re able to detect the breast cancer as early as possible? Experts recommend that all women still get mammograms, but they also suggest that the test be carried out at a cautious frequency. Again, make sure you begin undergoing mammograms at the age of 50 and stop after you’ve hit 75. Simultaneously, it is pertinent to avoid getting mammograms more than once every two years.

The Effectiveness Of Mammograms With Implants

Over the past few years, the percentage of women getting breast implants has undeniably grown larger and larger. While breast implants are safer than ever before, there are still some potential problems that could occur. First and foremost, you should realize that implants are typically manufactured with silicone or saline. Both materials are capable of obscuring mammogram images. In return, this can make it far more difficult for doctors to determine whether or not you’re suffering from breast cancer by relying solely on mammogram imagery.

If the implants have been placed above the muscle, this will make it more difficult for the radiologist. However, if the implants are positioned underneath the muscle, the problem will not be as troubling. If you happen to have implants, it is pertinent to visit a client that deals with a lot of patients with implants. This will help to ensure that they’ll be more likely to provide you with the most accurate and reliable results. Also, make sure that you tell the doctor that you have implants, so they’ll know exactly what to look for.

Getting A Mammogram Without Insurance

As you probably already know, mammograms are almost always covered by your medical insurance. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of women that do not have an adequate amount of health insurance. If you happen to fall into this category and you still want to get tested, you can rest assured knowing that there are options out there. In fact, a lot of state and local health programs will actually be willing to provide mammograms for free or for a very low fee. The CDC works closely with the several groups to provide low-cost mammograms to women without insurance.

Get in touch with your local health department and see whether or not they can help. There is a good chance that someone at the office will be able to help you get the assistance that you need. You can also visit your local hospital or women’s center for more assistance.

Mammograms VS Thermography

When it comes to early breast cancer detection and screening, many women only consider undergoing a mammogram. The breast thermography is considered a reliable, complementary screening that is capable of identifying high-risk cases. Many physicians and oncologists also rely on thermography to help them determine a prognosis for their patients. It can also be combined with treatments to determine their effectiveness.

It is important to note that no single test can detect 99 to 100 percent of all cancers. In fact, the only way to detect breast cancer accurately is to utilize multiple tests, which is what physicians do to prevent providing patients with false results. A breast cancer diagnosis is something that is always on the back of every woman’s mind. The diagnosis should only be offered, if it is backed up by results from several scans and tests.

Thermography should never be utilized as an alternative replacement for mammography, because both tests look for different pathological processes. Thermography, a physiological imaging procedure, is actually more sensitive than a mammography, but it cannot detect some non-aggressive, slow growing cancers. Mammography can detect such cancers so do not get confused about the capabilities of these procedures.

When it comes to early detection, the mammogram will probably be your only option. However, previous studies have revealed that mammograms have the capability to contribute to some breast cancers. If you have any questions about these tests, be sure to discuss them with your physician. If you are handed a breast cancer diagnosis, you may want to get a second opinion, just to give yourself peace of mind.

Mammograms Risks

Early breast cancer detection is required to save lives. While mammograms do not prevent breast cancer, they can be utilized to detect cancer in the early stages. When cancer is not detected until the later stages, the more likely the woman will survive.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Medical Association, American Cancer Society, American College of Radiology, National Comprehensive Cancer Network and National Cancer institute had developed guidelines that recommended women to undergo a mammogram beginning at age 40. Due to the risk associated with mammograms, the age has been pushed back by 10 years, which has drawn some criticism.

The biggest risk linked to mammograms is they are not perfect. What this basically means is breast cancer can be hidden beneath normal breast tissue, which can render a false negative result. A false alarm will call for even more tests and visits to the physician’s office. This can be extremely stressful for patients. 

Weighing Mammograms Pros And Cons

As a female, you have probably been told that you need to get a mammogram every year in order to check for cancer. However, over the past several years you have probably heard that there are a lot of negatives, when it comes to getting a mammogram. You truly would not think that a test for breast cancer would have downsides, but it really does. This is why it is imperative that you completely weigh the pros and cons of getting a mammogram, before you actually go to a doctor and schedule one.

The Pros Of A Mammogram

With just a little bit of research and effort, you will find that mammograms can save lives. In fact, recent studies show that mammograms reduce cancer rates by 15 percent. This means that one out of every 2,000 women could possibly prolong their lives, when they undergo this procedure.

If you do have breast cancer, spotting it as early as possible is key to successful treatment. If you test negative, you will have peace of mind in knowing that you are cancer free.

The Cons Of A Mammogram

Just ask any female that has undergone this procedure, and they will tell you that it is not a pleasant one. The procedure is extremely painful, and there are lots of false positive results that have been reported. In fact, every 200 women out of 2,000 will probably get a false reading and undergo cancer treatment for no reason. Not only can this cause major psychological damage, but it can be very expensive, as well. Cancer treatments are not like taking antibiotics. You have to undergo radiation that can damage organs and even increase the risk of developing cancer.

What women need to know about mammograms in this day and age procedure

Understanding The Mammogram Procedure

So, after weighing the pros and cons you are thinking about going ahead with the procedure. Well, it is important for you to fully understand what you will be going through and how the procedure works. While a mammogram is just basically a low-dose x-ray that screens for changes in the breast tissue, it is important to understand there are two different types.

For instance, a screening mammogram is issued to a woman who does not have any suspicions of breast problems. Whereas, a diagnostic mammogram is used when a screening reveals that there might be additional problems.

When you arrive at the physician’s, you will have to undress and place your breasts on a flat support table. From this point on your breasts will be compressed with a parallel plate that is referred to as a paddle. Compressing the breasts in this manner allows the x-ray machine to completely read through the breasts. Along with this, the compression machine helps even out the breasts, so the x-ray has a shorter path to travel. Throughout the process you will be exposed to a small amount of radiation, which some individuals will say can increase the chances of developing cancer. However, studies are showing that risks of the test far outweigh the risks of not undergoing the test at all. This is especially true for women over the age of 50.

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