How Often Should I Have a Mammogram?
As a woman who takes good care of herself, you strive to stay informed on the latest recommendations on everything from the best super foods to the latest trends in exercise. One part of your healthcare regime you may question is how often to see your doctor for regular checkups, including how often should you get a mammogram.
How Often Should I Get a Mammogram?
It is recommended that women receive annual mammograms starting at age 40, even if they have no symptoms or family history of breast cancer. Annual mammograms can detect cancer early which is when it is most treatable.
If you have a family history of breast cancer, you should consider starting mammogram screenings before age 40 and consult your doctor on getting more frequent breast exams. The breast exams can be a combination of mammograms, manual exams, MRIs, and ultrasounds.
Patients with dense breasts should also consider getting breast exams more frequently than once a year. There are several options to consider, and your doctor can create a breast screening plan tailored for you, which may include more frequent breast screening, monthly self-exams, yearly screening by your doctor, MRIs, and ultrasounds.
What Is a Mammogram?
Mammography is a special kind of breast imaging that uses small doses of X-ray radiation to find breast cancer in its earliest stages. Mammograms utilize specialized equipment to effectively record images of breast tissue that will record small abnormalities before a woman ever notices symptoms.
3-D mammography, or tomosynthesis, is the newest form of mammography gaining in popularity among physicians. This advanced imaging system records many images or “slices” of breast tissue from several different angles. The extensive sets of images are then put together as a whole that results in a true 3-D image of the breast.
Studies show that 3-D mammography is more effective than traditional mammograms in capturing accurate images of breast tissue. This efficiency leads to fewer unnecessary follow-up exams due to false positive mammography results.
How Is a Mammogram Performed?
Mammograms are quick and easy procedures that take less than 30 minutes to complete. During a mammogram, a trained technician will place your breast on a platform. As a clear plastic paddle compresses your breast, you will be asked to stay still and hold your breath while images are being recorded. The technician will record one top to bottom view and one side view. The process will repeat for the second breast. Compression of the breast is necessary to:
- Immobilize the breast so X-ray images will be clear
- Reduce the amount of radiation necessary for imaging
- Reduce the thickness of the breast to expose more tissue for imaging
- Lower the chance of missing abnormalities
Why Should I Choose PURE Mammography?
At PURE Mammography, we treat every patient with a level of comfort and care that is unparalleled. Your visit will feel more like a spa day than a medical test as we treat our patients to plush, warm robes and refreshments before the exam. Once in our exam room, you can choose an audio/visual experience of being in a rainforest, beach or garden to set your mind at ease during your exam. No appointment is necessary at PURE, which is conveniently located inside Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove. Our extended, flexible hours make getting a mammogram a breeze before or after a day of shopping in the mall.
Don’t put off getting your yearly mammogram for one more day. Stop by PURE today or visit us online to find out more about our state-of-the-art mammogram facility.