WHAT IS A MAMMOGRAM?
A mammogram is an x-ray or digital image of the breast. Currently, it is the best screening tool available to detect breast cancer in its early stages.
ARE THERE TIMES WHEN A DIGITAL MAMMOGRAM MAY BE PREFERABLE TO AN X-RAY MAMMOGRAM?
Digital mammograms are the preferred option when women have dense breast tissue, are under the age of 50 or have not yet gone through menopause. Both digital and x-ray mammograms can detect abnormalities in breast tissue.
CAN X-RAY MAMMOGRAMS CAUSE CANCER?
The risk of cancer is minute. The value of an x-ray uncovering breast cancer in an early, treatable stage far outweighs that minute risk. Mammograms use the lowest dose of radiation of any x-ray.
WHEN SHOULD I GET A MAMMOGRAM AND HOW OFTEN?
Typically, a woman has her first mammogram at age 40, and then once a year, each year. However, if she or her doctor detects a change in her breast, a mammogram may be indicated at an earlier age. Also, if a woman has a family history of breast cancer, a screening mammogram may be scheduled as early as age 30.
WHAT STEPS CAN I TAKE TO MAKE MY MAMMOGRAM A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE?
1. Choose a certified facility. Their certificate will be displayed prominently.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SCREENING MAMMOGRAM AND A DIAGNOSTIC MAMMOGRAM?
A screening mammogram scans both breasts, looking for abnormalities or trouble spots. A diagnostic mammogram is used when a trouble spot has been detected during a routine screening mammogram. The diagnostic mammogram zeroes in on the trouble spot.
HOW OFTEN DO SCREENING MAMMOGRAMS LEAD TO DIAGNOSTIC MAMMOGRAMS?
About 10% of women have diagnostic mammograms because something showed up on their screening mammograms. And usually, about 10% of those women have a biopsy, with 80% of biopsies ruling out breast cancer.
WHAT CAN SHOW UP ON A MAMMOGRAM?
CALCIFICATION: Tiny calcium deposits in breast tissue that are usually benign (harmless). Depending on how they appear in a mammogram, more testing may need to be conducted to rule out breast cancer. Calcifications can be a precursor to breast cancer.
WHAT IF I CANNOT AFFORD A MAMMOGRAM?
If you have insurance, most plans cover it. Medicare also pays for mammograms. Call Panhandle Breast Health at 806.331.4710 or email Leticia Goodrich at Leticia.Goodrich@panhandlebreasthealth.org for more information about other services that may be available to you in the Amarillo area.
ALL ABOUT MAMMOGRAMS
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The groundwork of all happiness is health.