If you're a woman over 40, it's recommended that you undergo a mammogram every one or two years. To some people, this might seem excessive, and they may feel compelled to skip them. The fact of the matter is, mammograms are the easiest and most effective way to protect women from breast cancer. If you haven't scheduled a mammogram at a family medical center in Suffolk County, NY, lately, here's how the procedure can help you remain cancer-free, and why it's important that you make an appointment right away.
A Reliable Screening
A mammogram is a process where low-energy X-rays are used to detect breast cancer. While the technology is simple, and the procedure has been commonplace for decades, mammograms are still the most reliable way to detect and prevent breast cancer. The screening makes it possible to see tumors that are too small to be felt or seen in any other way. Since time is of the essence when it comes to stopping a cancerous tumor's growth, mammograms enable physicians to catch breast cancer while it's still in its earliest stages.
Risks of Cancer
According to The American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among women—behind lung cancer—with 1 in 8 women developing breast cancer during their lifetime. Since cancer seems to be at its most aggressive in women between the ages of 40 and 50, it's especially important that women over the age of 40 visit a medical center for a mammogram once per year. While regular self-examination is important for women of all ages, annual mammograms have proven to be the most effective way to detect breast cancer early enough so that it can be stopped before it has the chance to spread. In fact, many times, tumors are spotted at such an early stage that they can be removed without having to resort to chemotherapy.
An Important First Step
The annual mammogram is just a part of keeping a patient cancer-free. Sometimes normal breast tissue will be able to hide a tumor, or abnormalities may exist that can lead to a false positive. While a false positive can cause undue stress and anxiety, there are other procedures that lessen the frequency of false positives. A 3D image of the affected breast can be taken using a tool known as digital tomosynthesis. This procedure allows the physician a clearer view of the abnormalities from several different angles. A mammogram, however, is still the first tool doctors use to detect breast cancer, knowing they can rely on more advanced technology if necessary.
If you need to schedule a mammogram screening at a medical health center in Suffolk County, NY, contact Peconic Bay Medical Center. We're committed to providing our community with the best health care possible, so make an appointment at our Grossman Imaging Center by calling (631) 405-3240 today.