Mammograms are an essential preventive health measure for women, especially as they age. These X-ray screenings are instrumental in early detection of breast cancer, significantly improving the chances of effective treatment and survival. While the procedure itself can be a bit uncomfortable, the peace of mind and proactive approach to your health it provides are priceless.
At The Women's Center at Life Point Medical, we take women's health seriously. As a family nurse practitioner specializing in women’s health, Monique Petteys, FNP-C, possesses extensive experience helping women flourish throughout all life phases. As part of her gynecology services, she performs a breast exam during your annual women’s wellness visit. If she notices anything unusual during your breast exam, she refers you for a mammogram.
It’s recommended that women begin getting annual mammograms starting at age 40, and Monique encourages you to stay on top of your annual screenings. Here are six reasons that it’s vital to schedule your next mammogram.
1. Early detection saves lives
When it comes to treating breast cancer, catching it in the earliest stages is vital. Breast cancer that’s caught before it spreads has a five-year survival rate of 99%.
Mammograms have the ability to detect cancerous growths years before they can be felt through physical examination. With early detection, treatment options are more plentiful and often less invasive, leading to better outcomes.
2. Family history intensifies your risk
A family history of breast cancer — or even ovarian cancer — significantly elevates your risk. If a first-degree relative, such as a mother, sister, or daughter, has been diagnosed with either condition, your personal risk for breast cancer nearly doubles. Two or more first-degree relatives with these cancers can triple your risk.
In such cases, Monique may advise earlier and more frequent screening.
3. Age is more than just a number
Although breast cancer can strike women of any age, the risk sharply increases for women over 40. Even if you've had normal mammogram results in the past, don't let complacency set in.
Outside of gender, age is the most significant risk factor for breast cancer. Two-thirds of invasive diagnoses occur in women age 55 and older.
4. Peace of mind
Going through the process of having a mammogram provides peace of mind, especially if you’re at a higher risk due to family history or other factors. The results can ease your worries if they come back normal, and if anything suspicious shows up, you have the advantage of early intervention.
5. It's quick and relatively painless
While some women experience discomfort during a mammogram, the procedure itself is relatively quick and straightforward. The mild discomfort is a small price to pay for the invaluable information that the screening provides.
6. Technological advancements make it easier
Technological advancements in the field of mammography have made the process even more efficient and effective. Modern mammograms have lower doses of radiation and provide clearer images, which helps in more accurate diagnosis. There's no better time than now to schedule your next mammogram.
Taking control of your well-being starts with one simple step, and that step could make all the difference. Call The Women’s Center at Life Point Medical today to discuss breast health and embrace the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re being proactive in safeguarding your health.