To get a Mammogram

Since 1990 Mammograms have help to reduce the cancer mortality rate by 40% in the US.

Often as mothers, wives, daughters, sisters and caregivers, we forget to take care of ourselves. We are nurturing by nature so a lot time we neglect our own bodies to help others in need. We must learn to love ourselves enough to do all that we can to maintain a healthy style.

Maintaining a healthily lifestyle does not only mean eating healthy and exercising, it also means making time for yourself, getting physicals and getting health screens at the appropriate times. One of the most important screenings to get is a mammogram. Getting a mammogram is important in helping to maintain good breast health.

Annual mammograms can detect cancer early — when it is most treatable. In fact, mammograms show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Mammograms can also prevent the need for extensive treatment for advanced cancers and improve chances of breast conservation. Current guidelines from the American College of Radiology and the Society for Breast Imaging recommend that women receive annual mammograms starting at age 40 — even if they have no symptoms or family history of breast cancer.


So, what exactly is a mammogram?

A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray exam of the breasts to look for changes that are not normal. The results are recorded on x-ray film or directly into a computer for a doctor called a radiologist to examine.

A mammogram allows the doctor to have a closer look for changes in breast tissue that cannot be felt during a breast exam. It is used for women who have no breast complaints and for women who have breast symptoms, such as a change in the shape or size of a breast, a lump, nipple discharge, or pain. Breast changes occur in almost all women. In fact, most of these changes are not cancer and are called "benign," but only a doctor can know for sure. Breast changes can also happen monthly, due to your menstrual period.

Here are some recommended guidelines for when you should start screening:

Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40. The age at which screening should be stopped should be individualized by considering the potential risks; and, the benefits of screening in the context of overall health status and longevity.

Clinical breast exam should be part of a periodic health exam about every three years for women in their 20's and 30's, and every year for women 40 and older.

A screening MRI is recommended for women with an approximately 20%-25% or greater lifetime risk of breast cancer, including women with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer and women who were treated for Hodgkin disease.

Women should know how their breasts normally feel and report any breast change promptly to their health care providers.

Learning to take care of ourselves is sometimes difficult to do. As women, we are often so much to other people that we neglect ourselves. That is why it is so important to love ourselves enough to what’s best for our mind, body and soul. Make it a point to get a mammogram so we can continue to be the best mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and caregivers we can be.



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