Your health is one of the most important things that you will ever have in life, yet it is also the thing that is most taken for granted. Most people do not give a second thought to their health until they are given a scary diagnosis or someone very close to them receives one.
Many women overlook the importance of mammograms because they do not understand the importance of this simple screening. Here are the most important things to know about mammograms so you can make them a priority:
- Mammograms can save your life. Mammograms are a simple procedure that can detect cancer at its earliest stages. Finding breast cancer early reduces your risk of dying from the disease by up to 30% or more.
- Mammograms are easy and painless. A mammogram is considered to be a non-invasive procedure. Done externally, the breasts are placed into a machine that takes an X-ray image of the breasts. During the procedure, the breasts are compressed between two firm surfaces to spread out the breast tissue. While some women report feeling uncomfortable for a few seconds, there is nothing to fear about the procedure.
- Mammograms are not unsafe. Mammography is a fast procedure that takes about 20 minutes. There is only a minimal amount of radiation exposure from a mammogram, so women should not let worry about radiation keep them from having a mammogram done.
Prioritize Your Mammogram
It is recommended that all women over the age of 40 receive an annual mammogram until the age of 55. At 55, most women can switch to getting a mammogram every 1-2 years based on American Cancer Society guidelines.
Women who have a family history of breast cancer should follow their gynecologist’s recommendation for annual breast health screenings. It is also important to report any of the following signs or changes in your breasts to your physician:
- A lump in the underarm area
- Unusual swelling
- Breast pain
- Skin irritation
- Nipple pain
- The nipple turning inward
- Thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
At Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A., we take all areas of women’s health seriously. If you have questions about mammograms or need a mammography referral, contact our practice.