Importance of Mammogram Screening on Long Island
What are the Eight Warnings Signs of Breast Cancer?
The warning signs of breast cancer are not the same for all women. The most common symptoms are a change in the look or feel of the breast, a change in the look or feel of the nipple, and nipple discharge. In general, these are the eight warning signs to watch for:
- Lump, hard knot, or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
- Swelling, warmth, redness, or darkening of the breast
- Change in the size or shape of the breast
- Dimpling or puckering of the skin
- Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
- Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
- Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
- New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away
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Which Breast Cancer Screening Test is Used to Detect Cancer?
As mentioned above, mammograms screening are the most common screening test for breast cancer. In women who have a high risk of breast cancer, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used for screening. Other screening tests are breast exams, thermography, and tissue sampling.
The Importance of Annual Breast Exams
An annual breast exam is the most effective tool available to detect breast cancer before lumps can be felt or symptoms appear. Early detection of breast cancer is key to successfully treating and potentially beating the disease. This also improves your odds of survival and can allow you to avoid what could be much more extensive treatment.
According to the American Cancer Society, early-stage breast cancer has a five-year survival rate of 99 percent. Later-stage cancer has a survival rate of 27 percent.
Out of every 100 women who get a screening mammogram, 90 will be told their breast exams are normal, and 10 will be asked to return for a diagnostic mammogram. Of these 10, 6 will be reassured that their breast exam is normal. Two will be asked to return in 6 months for a follow-up exam. Two will be recommended to have a needle biopsy.
Why Do I Need a Diagnostic Mammogram?
Diagnostic mammograms are follow-up breast exams after suspicious results showed up on your screening mammogram or after some signs of breast cancer alert your physician to check the tissue in question.
These are some signs that could merit a diagnostic mammogram:
- A lump
- Breast pain
- Nipple discharge
- Thickening of the skin on the breast
- Changes in the size or shape of the breast
Compared to the more generalized approach in mammogram screening, diagnostic mammograms provide a more detailed x-ray of the breast using specialized techniques. Mammogram screening is also used in women with special circumstances, such as when a woman has breast implants.
Can A Breast Exam Increase My Risk of Developing Breast Cancer?
A breast exam is simply an x-ray and there is a very small risk of that radiation actually causing breast cancer. But the risk is low and worthwhile when considering the risk of developing and not knowing you have breast cancer. A study in the U.S. and the Netherlands looked at 100,000 women ages 40 to 74 and found that breast exams induced 125 cases of breast cancer and from that group, there would be 16 deaths. But the breast exam averted 968 breast cancer deaths due to the benefits of early screening.
There is more risk for women with large breasts because a complete examination usually requires extra views. But the risks are still very small compared to the benefits of early diagnosis.
What most people don’t realize is that we are exposed to constant radiation in the world all day every day. The radiation dose from a breast exam is equal to about two months of this background radiation for the average woman.
Can a Breast Exam Damage My Breast Tissue?
During a breast exam, your breast is placed on a platform and it is gradually pressed against the platform by a clear plastic plate. The pressure is applied for a few seconds to spread out the breast tissue. This pressure can be uncomfortable, but it doesn’t harm your breasts in any way.
Mammogram screening is the best means of preventing late-stage breast cancer. Don’t procrastinate, get your annual mammogram at PURE Mammography on Long Island today — it might just save your life.
- Over 245,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be discovered among women in the United States in 2016, and over 40,000 women this year alone will lose their lives to this disease, according to the American Cancer Society.
- The goal of breast cancer screening is to reduce deaths from breast cancer by detecting it early, while treatment is more effective and less harmful.
- According to the National Cancer Institute, since mammography screening became widespread in the early 1990s, the U.S. breast cancer death rate, unchanged for the previous 50 years, decreased by over 30%.
- 75% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no special identifiable risk factors. Screening only women with risk factors will miss the vast majority of women who will develop breast cancer.
- Numerous studies show that even when women have access to the latest therapies, deaths from breast cancer decline at a much higher rate in women who get mammograms.
Schedule a Consultation
Mammograms are the single best tool to find breast cancer at its earliest stages — long before you or your doctor can feel a lump. Having regular 3D mammograms performed by an experienced board-certified breast imaging specialist is the best way to detect abnormalities early. Visit PURE Mammography in the Smith Haven Mall today, no appointment necessary. You can also call 631-652-3424 or fill out the form on this page to pre-schedule an appointment or to learn more about PURE.