Getting a Mammogram After You’ve Had Breast Cancer
If you’ve had breast cancer and have completed treatment, mammograms may be an important part of ensuring that you stay well. Depending on the type of treatment you received, you may still need to get mammograms, and in some cases, your doctor may recommend that they be conducted twice a year. You may feel a little anxious about mammograms after your breast cancer treatment, but in many cases, they play a vital role in your after-care.
What If Only One Breast Was Affected?
If you’ve had breast cancer in one breast and had surgery on it, you should continue to have mammograms on the other breast. This is very important since you’ve had one incidence of breast cancer, you face a higher risk of having another.
What Testing Schedule Is Recommending After a Lumpectomy?
If you’ve had breast-conserving surgery (BCS), which is also called a lumpectomy or partial mastectomy - most experts recommend getting a mammogram of the affected breast 6 to 12 months after you complete your radiation treatment. Your skin and breast tissue will undergo changes after your surgery and radiation, so the first mammogram after your treatment will serve as your new baseline. Your doctor will be able to check for any future changes in your breast based on this first post-treatment mammogram. Future mammograms on this breast should be done at least yearly after this first post-treatment one, although your doctor may suggest that it be done more often.
Are Mammograms Needed After a Mastectomy?
If you’re had a mastectomy (surgery that removes the entire breast), you may not need a mammogram on the affected side. This includes women who have had the following types of mastectomies:
Simple Mastectomy – removal of the entire breast, including the nipple, areola, and skin, and possibly some underarm lymph nodes
Modified Radical Mastectomy – a simple mastectomy combined with the removal of underarm lymph nodes
Radical Mastectomy – removal of the entire breast, underarm lymph nodes, and the chest wall muscles under the breast. This surgery isn’t performed very often.
If, however, you’ve had a subcutaneous mastectomy (a skin-sparing mastectomy), you’ll still keep your nipple and tissue under your skin. In this case, you’ll need to keep getting yearly mammograms on the affected breast.
What About Mammograms on Reconstructed Breasts?
You can get a mammogram if you have reconstructed breasts after a simple, modified radical, or radical mastectomy. They’re not routinely recommended, however, unless something unusual is found during a physical exam that warrants a more detailed look with a mammogram. Your doctor may also recommend an ultrasound of your breast or a magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI).
To receive a mammogram or to find out more about when one is recommended, contact PURE Mammography at the Smith Haven Mall. No appointment is necessary, and you don’t need a referral. Call or drop by, and you’ll receive a same-day mammogram with same-day results. Our mammograms are performed in 3D, which can detect more invasive breast cancers earlier.