get a mammography

Why You Need To Get A Mammogram

June 23, 2024
why get mammogram
Photo by National Cancer Institutes on Unsplash

Linda and I had our annual meeting last week. She is lovely and it went swimmingly. Linda is my mammography tech and I am always happy to see her each year at my local hospital when I go in for my mammogram. She and I started talking about why you need a mammogram and she was so upbeat and positive that I promised her that I would address the issue with you, my dear reader. It’s not that I find the mammography without its challenges, but when I look at the odds and how minimally invasive the test is, I’m all over it and you should be too.

why you need a mammogram
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels

Why You Need a Mammogram: You Get Better Odds Than The Casino

According to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, “Overall, the sensitivity of mammography is about 87 percent. This means mammography correctly identifies about 87 percent of women who have breast cancer.” Holy cannoli, Batman! That’s amazing! If the odds at the casino were that good, you’d bet red and be rich. I mean seriously, where can you get better odds than that?

why you need a mammogram
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

When To Get Your Mammogram

Linda, who happens to work at South County Health, in Wakefield, RI tells me that they have openings this week, if you are ready to make an appointment. I you live in the Northern part of the state, you can contact Women & Infants Diagnostic Imaging. Out of state? There are thousands of resources online to find a mammogram near you. Most of the time you will need an order from your doctor for the test. (I know that some of you already have an order, so what are you waiting for?). In case you are unsure if you’re eligible or it’s time, The American Cancer Society provides guidelines for when you should get a mammography based on your level of risk.

For Women at Average Risk:

According to The American Cancer Society, “For screening purposes, a woman is considered to be at average risk if she doesn’t have a personal history of breast cancer, a strong family history of breast cancer, or a genetic mutation known to increase risk of breast cancer (such as in a BRCA gene), and has not had chest radiation therapy before the age of 30.”

  • Women between 40 and 44 have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year.
  • Women 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
  • Women 55 and older can switch to a mammogram every other year, or they can choose to continue yearly mammograms. Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live at least 10 more years.

For Women at High Risk:

Also according to ACS, “Women who are at high risk for breast cancer based on certain factors should get a breast MRI and a mammogram every year, typically starting at age 30. This includes women who:

  • Have a lifetime risk of breast cancer of about 20% to 25% or greater, according to risk assessment tools that are based mainly on family history.
  • Have a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation (based on having had genetic testing).
  • Have a first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister, or child) with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, and have not had genetic testing themselves.
  • Had radiation therapy to the chest before they were 30 years old.
  • Have Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, or have first-degree relatives with one of these syndromes.

And I don’t mean to leave out the gentlemen. According to BreastCancer.org, ” While breast cancer in men is rare, it does happen. Fewer than 1% of all breast cancers are diagnosed in men. In 2019, about 2,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer (were) diagnosed in men. For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 833.” But, as with women, men with a strong family history of breast cancer, as well as other health indicators should have regular mammograms. So check with your doctor, guys.

Still Unsure Why You Should Get A Mammogram?

If, after all that, you’re still wondering why do you need a mammogram, I say re-read this blog. Do it for yourself, dear reader. And if you’re not willing to do it for yourself, do it for your partner, your children, your grand kids, your parakeet. People and furry and feathery creatures out there care about you. It’s easy. And it’s once a year!

For more topics on improving your health, check out my previous blogs: 3 Easy Tips For Great Skin and Accident Prevention Checklist For Your Home.

Hope you get it scheduled, my friends. Have a lovely Sunday. Marianne

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