Screening Mammogram

Mammograms are one of the primary tools that doctors use to detect breast cancer in patients. They play a key role in ensuring that cancers are caught early - before they spread and while they are still easily treatable.

Mammograms take x-rays of the breasts to screen for cancer, as well as for other abnormalities, like cysts, calcifications, and fibroadenomas. Screening mammography is one of the primary tools that doctors use to screen patients for breast cancer.

The American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) recommend that all women should "have a risk assessment at age 30 to see if a screen earlier than age 40 is needed."

A screening mammogram is a preliminary exam used to detect breast cancer in women who have displayed no signs or symptoms and are at average risk for cancer. A diagnostic mammogram, on the other hand, is used after a screening mammogram to examine a suspicious lump or mass in the breast.

Screening mammograms are not used for diagnosis. Instead, they offer your health care team a baseline to compare future mammograms against.

According to the American Cancer Society, women aged 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year. Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years or can continue yearly screenings. Screening mammograms generally don't require a referral if you're within the target age range.

Early detection is crucial in catching breast cancer and starting treatment before it spreads. Studies show that regular diagnostic mammograms have helped reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in women - particularly among women over the age of 50.

Mammograms are highly effective at screening not just for breast cancer, but also for rarer types of tumors like invasive ductal and lobular cancers. Mammograms catch cancers early. In some cases, if the cancer is still early-stage, you may not even need radiation or chemotherapy for treatment.

Now, health care marketplaces like Sesame make it easier than ever to book a mammogram and save up to 60% off imaging services. Sesame offers quality care with real, licensed doctors Ramapo, NY for upfront, cash prices - no insurance required.

The American Cancer Society recommends that you schedule your screening mammogram at a time when your breasts are least likely to be tender. This can reduce discomfort during the exam. Avoid the use of deodorants, antiperspirants, powders, lotions, or creams on the day of your exam. These products may show up in an X-ray and affect the clarity of the pictures.

You are not required to fast or stop taking medication before your appointment. You may want to wear a skirt or pants so that you only need to remove your top and bra during the exam. Additionally, you will be asked to remove all metallic items from your person, including piercings and jewelry. Because of this, it is often to just leave these items at home rather than bring them to the clinic.

You will be asked to disrobe from the waist up. In some clinics, you may be given a gown to wear.

During the exam, you will be asked to stand in front of an X-ray machine specially designed for mammography. A member of the imaging team will place your breast onto a platform that is raised or lowered to match your height. A clear plate will be placed on the other side of your breast to compress the tissue and spread it out. This may cause mild discomfort, but shouldn’t be painful. The platform under your breast will emit X-ray beams to create an image of the breast’s internal tissue. This image is recorded on a monitor by a technologist. This process will usually be done for both breasts. During the X-ray, you may be asked to hold your breath while the image is being taken to prevent blurring.

The procedure may take 15-30 minutes, after which time you will be instructed to change back into your regular clothes.

In most cases, you will be cleared to leave the clinic after the exam takes place. Mammograms do not require sedation, so you are free to go about your daily activities as soon as you leave the office.

The sequence of images taken by the mammography machine will be examined and analyzed by a radiologist, a medical doctor with specialized training in interpreting diagnostic imaging. The radiologist will be looking for signs of breast cancer. After the images are reviewed, the radiologist will submit a report to your primary care provider, who will discuss the results with you. This may take 1-3 business days depending on the clinic, and when your exam was scheduled.

After your appointment, discuss the next steps with your provider. Further testing may be needed if a suspicious lump or mass was found during the test. If you do not hear about your results after 10 days of your exam, contact your primary care provider.

Several different factors could put you at a higher risk of breast cancer. According to the CDC, you may be more likely to develop breast cancer if the following apply to you:

- Personal and family history: If anyone in your immediate family has had breast cancer, then you may be at higher risk and should consider regular mammography visits.

- Dense breasts: There is more connective tissue in dense breasts, increasing the likelihood that you could develop breast cancer.

- Gene mutations: Genetic mutations in genes such as the BRCA1 and BRCA2 may put you at a higher risk of breast cancer.

- Aging: Most cases of breast cancer involve women above the age of 50.

- Previous radiation therapy: Women who have previously received radiation therapy in the chest before the age of 30 have a higher risk of developing breast cancer later down the line.

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