Types of Mammograms
A screening mammogram is for patients with normal breast tissue and no history of breast cancer. It is used as a tool to check for cancer when there are no signs or symptoms of the disease.
When an abnormality in the breast has been detected through a screening mammogram or there is an obvious sign or symptom of breast cancer, a diagnostic mammogram will be performed. In a diagnostic mammogram, the breast is x-rayed from several angles to give more views of the breast and give more detailed images to aid in diagnosis. Diagnostic mammograms are also used for patients with breast tissue that is difficult to evaluate through screening mammograms, such as in women with breast implants.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Should I Schedule a Mammogram?
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer, and it is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.
When Should I Schedule a Manmogram?
The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms for women starting at age 40. Mammograms are non-invasive x-rays of the breasts to aid in early detection of any abnormalities in the breast. Research has shown that mammograms can show changes in the breast up to two years before they can be felt. Early detection of breast cancer greatly increases the chances for a complete recovery.
How Else Can I Protect Myself?
Perform monthly breast self-exams on a regular basis. Look and feel for changes – discharge from the nipple, skin dimpling, changes in skin texture, change in nipple position, feel for any unexplained lumps.
The best time of the month to do your self exams is seven to ten days after the start of your menstrual cycle. For post-menopausal women, do it the same day each month.
The Mary’s Gift Program at Wise Health System provides free screening and diagnostic mammograms to low-income, uninsured or under-insured women in Wise County.
Mammograms are the most effective way to find breast cancer early, and the sooner breast cancer is diagnosed, the more likely the disease can be treated. The goal is to find cancers before they start to cause symptoms. The size of a breast cancer and how far it has spread are the most important factors in predicting the outlook for the patient.
Countless women in Wise County over the age of 40 are not getting an annual mammogram as recommended by the American Cancer Society – and it’s not by choice. Affordable group health insurance is not always available to those who are employed, while others may have health insurance but are limited to the number of screenings they are able to receive, and some may have coverage, but the deductible is so high that a mammogram is unaffordable.
For more information, visit the Wise Health Foundation website, or contact the Wise Health Foundation at (940) 626-1384.