Early detection is often the key to successful breast cancer treatment. To give women the greatest opportunity for effective cancer care, breast cancer specialists recommend three practices: continual breast self-awareness, annual clinical exams, and annual mammograms. By adhering to these practices, women can become proactive in maintaining and safeguarding their own breast health.
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast, which allows cancer care specialists to evaluate the breast tissue and determine if any evidence of cancerous cells is present. A traditional mammogram displays the X-ray as a black and white film image. A digital mammogram, however, reveals the X-ray as a computer image, which typically allows healthcare professionals to manipulate the picture for a more thorough analysis. Women may undergo either a screening mammogram or diagnostic mammogram. Though the procedure itself frequently remains the same, a screening mammogram is administered when no signs of breast cancer are present. In contrast, a diagnostic mammogram is given when other preventative practices indicate the presence of cancerous cells.
Why are mammograms vital to breast cancer prevention?
Breast self-awareness and clinical exams can aid in early breast cancer detection. However, they alone cannot always discover the presence of breast cancer. Mammograms are crucial to successful cancer care because mammograms can screen for breast cancer when cancerous cells are few or still contained in the breast tissue.
Who should get a mammogram?
Most cancer care specialists recommend that women begin getting annual mammograms once they turn 40. However, certain circumstances may necessitate earlier mammogram screenings. If you have a family history of breast cancer, or you have been found to have one of several mutated genes linked to breast cancer, you may want to consult with your healthcare provider about getting screening mammograms before your 40th birthday.
Have you been recently diagnosed with breast cancer? If so, West Hills Hospital and Medical Center can help. Our Cancer Care Center offers comprehensive treatment options for women in all stages of this disease. To speak with a West Hills representative about our Women’s Diagnostic Center or Cancer Care Center, or to find out more about our National Breast Cancer Awareness Month events, please call our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (818) 676-4321.