What Is a Mammogram?
A mammogram is an x-ray of a breast used to scan the tissue for signs of breast cancer. Mammograms reveal abnormal cells even when lumps cannot be felt. Women are recommended to have annual mammogram screenings from the age of 45. In addition to revealing cancer before lumps can be felt, mammograms are also useful tools to determine the size and extent of cancer when a lump is discovered during a manual exam.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer?
In addition to lumps, signs of breast cancer include breast pain, nipple discharge, thickening of the skin, or a change in the size or shape of the breast. It is important to note that like most cancers and medical conditions, breast cancer does not present symptoms in its early stages. It is also important to note that the symptoms associated with breast cancer can also be caused by other medical conditions.
Why Are Breast Cancer Screenings Important?
Since breast cancer does not produce symptoms in its early stages, mammograms are the best way to detect cancerous developments as early as possible. Breast cancer can be more easily treated in the early stages of the disease so it is imperative to have regular screenings to protect your own health, especially if you have a family history of the disease.
What Is the Best Method of Breast Cancer Screening?
Women should perform regular manual exams on their own. It is recommended to check your breasts once a month, typically just after your period has ended. You should also have regular manual breast exams at your annual well woman checkup with your gynecologist. High-quality mammogram screenings on the recommended schedule, once a year from the age of 45, or perhaps more often if you have a family history are an essential tool for early detection and treatment.