Understanding breast cancer and being aware of the available procedures like mammography that can detect it early is a first step toward surviving it.
Women scheduling a breast cancer screening exam want to know how to prepare for a mammogram.
In this post, you will learn about breast cancer and its risk factors along with the best ways to screen for it and how much it usually costs.
Breast cancer is a cancer of your breast tissue. Among those, invasive or infiltrating breast cancer (IBC) accounts for up to 80%.
Invasive cancer is the most challenging type to treat as the cancer has already spread. At a late stage, cancer cells metastasize, reach the bloodstream, and land on distant organs like the lung and liver.
Other types of breast cancer include a triple-negative form (TNBC), which accounts for about 15% of all breast cancer, and inflammatory, which is 5% of breast cancer cases.
According to the American Cancer Society, about one out of eight women will develop an IBC in her life. It is the second leading cause of death in women behind lung cancer.
Breast cancer that has already spread to distant parts of the body results in a 27% survival rate within five years of the diagnosis.
However, if you have been diagnosed with a localized tumor, the odds of surviving the cancer are 99%.
In other words, early detection of your breast cancer brings you an extra 72% chance to continue a long life with your loved ones.
You can develop breast cancer early on, and for this to happen, you need to be aware of your cancer risk factors and use that to inform your screening knowledge.
There are several factors to take into consideration to assess your breast cancer risk:
Having an idea of your risk of cancer should lead to an appropriate endeavor and prioritize preventative measures. Talk to your doctor about your risk factors.
Additionally, ezra developed a five-minute questionnaire that could help you understand your risk levels.
Regular and frequent self-examination of your breasts can help to catch breast cancer at an early stage. Make it a monthly routine, and write down what you feel each time.
Some parts of the breast could feel differently from others. For instance, your breast may feel soft or sandy.
Record what you feel to make sure that the next time, you won’t mistake natural tissue structures for a potentially harmful change of form.
The American Cancer Society highly recommends recurrent cancer screening of your breasts for women 40 years old and up.
Traditionally, your doctor will request a mammogram of your breasts. You can perform such medical exams in a certified mammogram facility.
Your doctor may prescribe a complimentary breast ultrasound or MR (magnetic resonance) imaging procedure if your mammogram gives any cause for concern.
The day of the exam has arrived. If you feel anxious, this is entirely understandable. Whether or not it’s your first mammogram, an exam that could have a meaningful impact on your future is intimidating.
Often, the worry is linked to not knowing what it means to take a mammogram. So, let us walk you through it.
There are several things to consider to ensure successful mammography:
Once in the radiology room, you will be asked to remove everything from neck to hips. It is a standard procedure to prevent the scan from being misinterpreted.
Next, you will remove your top, and the facility will provide a wrap to cover your bust before you go to the mammogram machine.
To respect your privacy, you and the technologist will be the only persons in the room during the exam.
Two plates will sandwich and press your breast. This procedure improves the quality of the pictures taken by the radiologist. The flatter the breast is, the more accurate the scan is.
The entire procedure will not take more than 20 minutes, and the breast compression takes only a few seconds at a time.
If you feel any discomfort or pain during the procedure, do not hesitate to tell your technologist.
After this, you may put your clothes back on and get back your jewelry or other accessories.
After a few days, your facility will send the scan results to your health care provider. Don’t hesitate to call your doctor or your mammo center to update your medical exam.
Within 30 days, you will receive a summary report. If your exam indicates cancerous lesions, you may receive the report sooner.
After they receive your scan results, your health care provider will follow up with you to discuss the next steps. If your mammogram displays unusual spots, your doctor will prescribe further medical tests such as ultrasound and biopsy.
If your scan does not show any abnormalities or changes compared to the previous mammogram, you can schedule your next mammogram for two years from your scan date.
When undergoing mammography, be aware of the limitations and risks you may encounter.
While the benefits of regular cancer screening absolutely outweigh the risks, the risks are still important to understand.
Early detection of breast cancer is crucial to preventing its progression. A routine mammogram procedure can save your life.
X-ray images from other imaging scans that use ultrasound or MRI provide valuable information for a more accurate diagnosis. If you are 40 or older, plan to have even more frequent cancer screenings.
However, it’s never too soon to be proactive. At ezra, you can explore smarter breast cancer screening with a full-body MRI like ezra’s Full Body including your breasts. An MRI of the breast, along with a mammogram can help detect breast cancer early.