5 Reasons To Get A Mammogram Every Year

Each year in the United States, about 264,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women, making it the most common cancer in American women. A mammogram is a screening tool that helps with early detection of breast cancer, making it an essential procedure for all women. It involves taking X-ray images of the breast tissue to identify any abnormalities or changes in the breasts.

The Importance Of Mammograms

Regular screening can help detect breast cancer in its early stages before any physical symptoms appear. Additionally, mammograms can help to improve the chances of successful treatment. Here at Kernodle OB/GYN, we urge all women to get a mammogram annually for the following reasons.

1. The Risk Of Breast Cancer Increases With Age

Breast cancer is when the cells in the breast grow out of control. The risk of this increases with age, as most breast cancers are diagnosed after the age of 50. Other risk factors that cannot be changed include reproductive history, genetic mutations, personal history of breast cancer,  or family history of breast cancer. Some of the most common symptoms of breast cancer include a new lump in one or both breasts or under the armpit, thickening or swelling in a part of the breast, skin irritation around the nipple, and breast or nipple pain. As you age, you must be aware of the risk factors you can change. These include not being physically active, being overweight, and drinking alcohol. 

2. Early Detection Can Improve Outcomes 

Although mammograms do not prevent breast cancer, they can help with early detection. Early detection of breast cancer increases the chance of survival due to there being more treatment options when found at an early stage. The main types of breast changes detected by a mammogram include

  • Calcifications
  • Masses
  • Asymmetries
  • Distortions

According to the American Cancer Society, a mammogram can help to detect a tumor before you can feel it or symptoms appear. 

3. Mammograms Are Covered By Most Insurance Companies

A mammogram is an important screening tool for every woman. Under the Affordable Care Act  (Obamacare) in the United States, insurance providers are required to cover the complete cost of screening mammograms. This includes Medicare and Medicaid. Some women may require additional screening tests, such as an ultrasound or MRI, after their mammogram. It is important to check with your healthcare provider to learn if your insurance carrier will cover additional testing. This often varies by state and insurance company. 

4. The Whole Process Is Quick And Easy

Not only can a mammogram save your life, but the whole process is quick and easy. The procedure generally takes only 30 minutes and is non-invasive. During the mammogram, your breast will be gently compressed between two plates, and an X-ray will be taken. Although the compression of your breast may be uncomfortable, it is usually over quickly. 

5. Minimal Radiation Exposure

Mammography uses a low dose of radiation to produce X-ray images of breast tissue. The amount of radiation used is safe and does not increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. Even with minimal exposure, the benefits of a mammogram outweigh any of the possible harm. According to Cancer.org, the dose of radiation used for a screening mammogram of both breasts is about the same amount of radiation a woman would get from her natural surroundings over the span of 7 weeks.

Regular mammograms are a fantastic tool to ensure peace of mind when it comes to breast cancer. Here at Kernodle OB/GYN, we provide full-scope individualized women’s health care, including gynecological care, midwifery services, and low- and high-risk maternity care for women and their families. For more questions about the benefits of a yearly mammogram, visit our website or give us a call for more information.

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