An X-ray image of the breast and surrounding tissue is created during a mammography. Women who show no symptoms of breast cancer are given a screening mammography to look for the disease. After discovering a lump or another breast cancer symptom, a diagnostic mammography is performed to look for the illness.
The Benefits of Mammograms
A mammogram’s greatest advantage is its potential to identify breast cancer early. Early identification enables earlier treatment, possibly before it spreads, which lowers the number of fatalities from breast cancer. It also implies that a lot more breast-preserving options are available to breast-cancer patients. The likelihood of localised malignancies is high when they are detected early, which means the cancer can be eliminated without having to remove the breast (mastectomy).
The Risks of Mammograms
The possibility of radiation exposure from a mammogram may cause some women to worry, although contemporary mammography exposes patients to very little radiation. The possibility of a false negative, which occurs when breast cancer might conceal itself behind healthy breast tissue, is another potential mammography risk.
Furthermore, mammography can spot a malformation that appears to be cancer but is actually absolutely benign. An example of this is a false positive. Additional tests and follow-up appointments, in addition to greater stress and worry, are brought on by a false positive.
Mammograms by Age
Mammograms are a useful technique for breast cancer screening because they can detect the disease when it is most treatable and at an early stage. While different professional bodies have different recommendations, Dr. Karin Vela suggests getting a mammography every year starting at age 40 and continuing until age 74. If they are in good health and anticipate living 10 or more years, women 75 and older should continue screening.
For patients with dense breasts or a family history of breast cancer, screening may begin sooner or involve additional test types such 3D mammography, ultrasound, or breast MRI. Dr. Karin Vela should discuss screening with each woman to determine which is best for her.
The majority of screenings display two distinct views of each breast. Pictures of both breasts are taken in order to compare any anomalies. Medical professionals may find calcifications, fibroadenomas, and cysts in the breast while searching for cancer.
Your breast density will also be determined by the results of your mammogram. Being pregnant, utilising oestrogen hormone therapy, and your family history (genetics) are all factors that can impact your breast density. Your age may also be a factor. Younger women often have denser breast tissue than older women who have gone through menopause.
It is more difficult to detect cancer on a mammography image the more thick a breast is. This is due to the fact that cancer and thick tissue both appear white on screens. Compared to fatty breast tissue, dense breast tissue seems to be more conducive to the growth of breast cancer. Consequently, having thick breasts may somewhat raise your risk of developing breast cancer.
Breast density is not a significant risk factor for cancer on its own. Your overall risk depends on details like your age, whether you’ve ever had breast cancer, and whether any of your close family members, like your mother or sister, have also had the disease. If you have dense breasts, Dr. Karin Vela can help you decide which screening option is appropriate for you by going over your options.
The biggest benefit of having them read right away is that you can get additional imaging done straight soon, such as a close-up mammography or an ultrasound, if there is anything suspect.
Contact Dr. Barbara Karin Vela today to schedule an appointment.