How Often Should A Mammogram Be Done – Dr. Georgia Giakoumis Spear shows breast tissue during a mammogram at Skokie Hospital on December 5, 2018. (via REUTERS)
The earlier cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat. But when it comes to mammograms, many people think it’s too early or put off their checkups out of fear that they will hurt. But a few minutes of discomfort could be the key to saving your life
How Often Should A Mammogram Be Done
Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women and in Turkey, one in four women diagnosed with breast cancer is diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the Breast Health Association (MEMEDER).
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Early diagnosis and treatment continue to prove vital in saving lives, meaning that regular screening and diagnosis should be highly recommended. In addition to regular breast exams to check for lumps, bumps and other abnormalities in and around the breast, including the arm, a doctor’s exam or a good check-up with tools that can help with breast cancer.
A reliable early detection method is a mammogram, which is an X-ray of the breast that looks for changes and signs that may indicate breast cancer. A mammogram machine presses the breast between two plates to get an image. Many women report feeling uncomfortable during the X-ray due to breast pressure. The procedure takes a few minutes and very few women experience severe pain, often with swelling. New machines have reduced the amount of compression and the duration, making the experience even better.
Meanwhile, ultrasonography uses high-frequency sounds to examine the breast and make an image of it, without radiation. It’s a painless procedure, but those with soft tissue tumors may experience pain.
However, the rate of women undergoing mammograms is very low, considering the prevalence of breast cancer in Turkey. According to Eurostat, 36% of Turkish women had a mammogram every year in 2019, while this rate in Finland was 83% in 2018.
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So, during the celebration of breast cancer awareness month, here are some of the most frequently asked questions about mammogram and ultrasound and the answers of radiologist Muhittin Mümtaz Özarar.
Breast tissue density increases in breastfeeding women. The main reason for this is the release of milk from the lactating breasts and the filling of the milk ducts as well as the increase in the density of the glands that produce milk. This can slightly reduce the sensitivity and accuracy of mammography. However, it does not give results from an illegal method as it still helps in measuring. While small tumors such as fat show up gray on a breast X-ray, dense tissue will be visible. This can be confusing because tumors are also composed of multiple cells and thus appear white in the image. But medical professionals will order more tests if something is suspicious.
Doctors also advise mothers to breastfeed before having a mammogram to reduce the amount of milk visible in the breast cavity, thereby reducing the density to provide a clearer image.
Breast implants are not a contraindication to breast examination using mammography, ultrasonography or MRI. The pressure used during a mammogram does not harm the patient, contrary to popular belief.
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Detailed images can be found in choosing the right size and schedule for breast screening. However, those with implants are recommended to get an ultrasound as well as a mammogram during their annual breast exam.
Because mammograms use X-rays, many are concerned that the radiation can cause cancer, although, in reality, the chance of radiation from such a screening machine causing cancer in the body is very low. Especially nowadays, thanks to advances in modern technology, such processes emit very little radiation. To put things into perspective, the amount of radiation you get from each mammogram is the cost of the trip.
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There is no need to prepare before a mammogram. The only thing you need to be sure of is not to use lotions like creams on your skin or deodorant powder on your fingers before the test. The products may show up as white spots on X-rays and are labeled with caution. Also, it can be useful for women who experience a lot of breast sensation problems before and during menstruation to be tested after relaxation and comfort.
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Breast ultrasonography is performed as a complementary test in patients with solid breast tumors, who have done mammography for testing or for diagnostic purposes, as a primary method in the evaluation of the axillary region (ie under the arms) in those over 40 years old. and as a guide in biopsy procedures.
Breast ultrasound is not used to diagnose breast cancer. They do not require special preparation and can be done even during pregnancy.
Q: Should women over 40 have an ultrasound or mammogram? Can a breast ultrasound be done on people over 50?
From age 40, regardless of family history, mammograms should be done annually for screening. Ultrasound should be performed in addition to mammography, especially in those with dense breast tissue, decreased mammography and suspicious findings during mammogram. Ultrasonography can easily be done at any age.
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This photo was taken on September 14, 2011, Dr. Karen Lindsfor, professor of radiology and director of breast imaging at the University of California, Davis Medical Center, examines a mammogram of a patient with multiple breast tumors, in Sacramento, California. (AP Photo)
Mammography should be done once a year from the age of 40. Tests can be recommended early for women in high-risk groups, ie. those with a family history of breast cancer. Ask your doctor about the best frequency.
Q: How often should you be screened if you have a family history of breast cancer? Is mammography enough on its own in most cases?
People with a family history of breast cancer should have a mammogram and ultrasound once a year starting at age 40. If a first-degree relative was diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 40, then doctors recommend starting breast cancer screening 10 years earlier. . cancerous growths have been found in family members. If your sibling was diagnosed at age 35 then you should have regular check-ups starting at age 25.
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In addition to yearly mammograms and ultrasounds, doctors also recommend regular MRI scans for women in the high-risk group.
How often and when to get a mammogram varies from person to person depending on age, family history, genetic predisposition, and more. Mira members have access to specialist referrals and imaging, primary care, mental health care, and urgent care. Membership with Mira is less than $25 per month. Sign up today to get started.
Everyone will experience different symptoms of breast cancer, and some may experience no symptoms at all. Some of the symptoms of breast cancer, according to the CDC:
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A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast and is the most common and effective way to check for signs of breast cancer. Regular screening for breast cancer is important because early detection allows more treatment options and a better chance of survival. According to the Carol Milgard Breast Center, approximately 1 in 8 women in the United States has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Women with breast cancer diagnosed early have a 93% survival rate within the first five years of diagnosis.
Factors such as family history, personal history, radiation, weight, race/ethnicity, diet, alcohol consumption, and menstrual history can increase the risk of breast cancer.
Dr. Melissa Frankel MD, a breast radiologist at Cleveland Clinic, recommends that “women should get a baseline mammogram between the ages of 35 and 39 and regular mammograms every year starting in their 40s.” and “if you do have genetic risk factors that increase breast cancer, then you should consider getting an annual mammogram starting at age 30.”
About 5% to 10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary. Regular screening or preventive surgery is a way to talk to your doctor about whether you are at risk for breast cancer. Choose to get genetic testing for one of them
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