A mammogram screening in West Orange, NJ is like an X-ray picture of the breast. The X-rays are sent to a computer. Then they are printed on film. The mammogram can find tumours that aren’t big enough to feel. It can also find very small calcium deposits (micro calcifications) that might mean cancer is starting to grow. A mammogram can be used to check a lump you can feel or other breast changes.
Benefits and costs of mammogram screening
Mammogram screening can detect breast cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages. It’s a simple, non-invasive test that allows physicians to look for tumours in the breast tissue, offering women the possibility of early detection of breast cancer and treatment before it spreads. Mammograms are not diagnostic tests they’re meant to be read by doctors who already suspect cancer as the cause of a woman’s symptoms or family history.
There are both benefits and drawbacks to mammogram screening. The decision to get screened should be made after considering the likelihood of developing breast cancer, and the risks involved with both getting breast cancer and undergoing mammogram screening.
Some benefits of mammogram screening include:
- Early detection of breast cancer significantly improves survival rates
- Mammogram screenings uncover cancers at an earlier stage, which is associated with lower mortality rates
- Mammograms can detect tumours in dense breasts, which provides a higher chance of finding a tumour sooner than other types of tests do
- Regular mammogram screenings can lead to earlier diagnosis when women are otherwise at risk for developing breast cancer later on in life (women over 40).
When to receive mammogram screening
The American Cancer Society recommends that women begin mammogram screening in West Orange, NJ at age 40, and continue to receive yearly screenings until age 54. After age 54, women should switch to screening every other year, or every two years if they have a family history of breast cancer. After the age of 70, women should stop receiving screenings unless there is a specific reason for them to continue.
In addition to the established guidelines that are supported by the ACS, some doctors recommend getting checked every year starting at age 30 if one has a history of breast cancer in their family or a genetic predisposition to cancer (such as the BRCA mutation), or if a woman has dense breast tissue. Dense breast tissue can obscure tumours on a mammogram, so women with dense breasts need to start screening earlier.