What You Need to Know Before Your First Mammogram

First MammogramIn 2020, more than 270,000 women will have a new invasive breast cancer diagnosis. Mammography can help to protect you, finding cancer before it grows or spreads. If you have never had a mammogram, take a look at the answers to the top questions women have about this diagnostic imaging test.

What Is a Mammogram?

A mammogram is an x-ray of your breasts. This inside-the-body picture allows the medical provider to see the interior of the breast and detect irregularities. Mammogram can find tumors before you can feel them manually.

Why Get a Mammogram?

Simply stated, it could save your life. While mammograms do not find all cancers, these diagnostic tests are a primary way doctors locate tumors and irregularities early on.

When Should a Woman Have a Mammogram?

If an immediate member of your family has or has had breast cancer or you have other concerns, talk to your doctor about the best tests (and the best timing of the tests) for your individual healthcare needs.

Are 2D Mammograms the Only Option?

While the traditional x-ray 2D mammogram has proved extremely helpful in the early detection of breast cancer, it is not the only option. In between doctor’s tests, you can routinely look for signs and symptoms through breast self-exams. Your doctor may also a manual breast exam during your annual well checkup or gynecologist visit.

3D mammography. Like the name implies, this test creates a three-dimensional image of the breast. An abnormal mammogram always requires follow-up testing. This may include an ultrasound, MRI, or, in some cases, a breast biopsy.

Are Mammograms Always Correct?

You can have a false-positive. This means the imaging test detects an irregularity that is not actually cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, this is more common if you have dense breasts, are younger, have had previous breast biopsies, or take estrogen.

Again, any positive test requires a follow-up. If the mammogram detects a suspected cancer, your doctor will order an ultrasound or additional imagining scans to confirm (or rule out) the results. An ultrasound or other imaging test will allow the doctor to form a complete diagnosis.

Even though mammograms can have false-positive results, you should still have this test. If you have concerns about your start age or the ability of a mammogram to accurately detect an early breast cancer, talk to your doctor or medical provider. The expert can help you understand the advantages and limitations of the test and what steps you may need to take next.

Do you need your first mammogram? Contact Stellis Health for more information. Wenswerall your health-related questions.