Learning that your mammography exam came back positive is alarming — to say the least. Finding out that you’re in the clear after receiving a positive result is overwhelmingly, well, positive. However, researchers at the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention want women to know that doesn’t mean they should hesitate to get screened next time. Their study found that women who receive false positive screenings are less likely to return for their next mammogram, putting them at risk for late-stage cancer, according to an article in the New York Times.
The study looked at a total of 90,018 false positive and 650,232 true negative tests of over 261,000 women. Researchers found that women with a true negative result, or no cancer detected, were 36 percent more likely to return within three years for screening. Women with a false positive result, or a positive mammogram, but no cancer detected, were more likely to receive screenings over four years later. And many of them learned that they were in late-stage malignancy.
“At Women’s Care Florida, we believe women who are at risk or are of the appropriate age should get a mammogram every year regardless of false positive screening results. Mammogram screenings are the most effective method for the early detection of breast cancer.” -Dr. at WCF (Select A Physician)
What the ACS says about screenings
The American Cancer Society suggests that women between the ages of 44 and 54 should get mammograms every year. Women 55 years old and up can switch to every other year or choose to get yearly mammograms depending on the status of their health. Additionally, women with risk factors such as a personal history, a family history, a genetic mutation known to increase her risk of breast cancer, etc. should receive a MRI and mammogram every year.
Research shows that women who have regular mammograms are less likely to need aggressive treatment and chemotherapy, and are more likely to be cured.
Screening mammograms can help your health care provider decide if more testing needs to be done. It helps identify breast changes such as calcifications and masses. To learn more about mammograms, check out some of our resources or schedule a breast cancer screening at one of the Women’s Care Florida offices today.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and although we’re weeks away, why not get a jump start on your breast health now? In fact, women should be thinking about their breast health all year round. For women in the United States, breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, aside from lung cancer.
To safeguard your health, try to be more proactive about screenings. Women ages 45 to 54 should get a mammogram every year, according to the American Cancer Society. At Women’s Care Florida, we make it easy for you. We have in-office screenings with the flexibility to schedule mammograms either before or the same day as your well-woman visit. Additionally, we advise that women perform breast self-exams. If you feel lumps or any changes, inform your gynecologist immediately.
You shouldn’t stop there, either. There are many other ways you can protect yourself from breast cancer. Here are some lifestyle related breast cancer risk factors women should be aware of:
- Drinking alcohol is linked to an increased risk for breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, those who have 2 to 5 drinks daily have 1.5 times the risk of women who don’t drink. Instead of pouring yourself a glass of wine or a pint of beer after a long day, why not relieve stress with some light exercise?
- Some researchers believe that exercise may reduce a woman’s breast cancer risk. As little as 2.5 hours a week of brisk walking might help your risk factors, according to the American Cancer Society. To motivate yourself, ask a friend to join you at the gym or for a walk around your neighborhood.
- Another reason to incorporate fitness into your life: being overweight or obese after menopause may increase your breast cancer risk. The American Cancer Society says that after menopause, most women’s estrogen comes from fat tissue. Having more fat tissue raises estrogen levels and increases your chances of getting breast cancer.
- Women who have not had children or who had their first child after 30 are at a slightly higher breast cancer risk. Having children is a personal choice, though it’s important to understand this is a risk factor.
Want to get a jump start on your breast health? Here are some other ways to help lower your chances of developing breast cancer.
To schedule a well-woman visit or mammogram at Women’s Care Florida, click here.
About 12 percent of all women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime, according to non-profit Breastcancer.org.
This may sound scary, and there’s no doubt it is. However, by undergoing routine mammogram screenings, you can detect breast cancer early, and seek treatments that can help improve your rate for survival.
In observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the experts at Women’s Care Florida ask women to do more to safeguard their health with screenings and prevention. Learn more about the benefits of digital mammograms and how you can schedule one today.
When should you start having mammograms?
The American Cancer Society recommends that women between the ages of 45 and 54 get mammograms every year, while women aged 55 and up can get mammograms less frequently — every two years, if desired. Women between the ages of 40 and 44 can start getting annual mammograms when they feel ready.
In some cases, your gynecologist may recommend you begin mammograms earlier than 40, based on your health status and any existing risk factors you may have.
Digital mammogram technology
Over the years, mammogram technology has evolved to offer breast cancer patients the best possible outcome. With digital mammograms, digital images of your breasts are stored on a computer, rather than on film or an x-ray print.
High-quality breast cancer screenings are effective at detecting breast cancer, but digital mammograms offer the following five benefits:
- Radiologists can zoom in to locate and examine abnormalities more clearly and efficiently.
- Screen images are updated constantly during screenings so staff can carefully evaluate image quality and abnormalities.
- Digital technology allows for fewer test re-takes and follow-up screenings.
- Digital mammograms can better identify abnormalities in denser breast tissue, especially in women under the age of 50.
- Digital files can be sent electronically to other physicians and specialists for optimal communication, care and support between providers.
As a woman, it’s important to get recommended breast screening tests before any symptoms develop. Cancer is easier to treat when found in its early stages, and can often be cured. Millions of women are surviving breast cancer today, thanks to early detection and improvements in testing and treatment.
Women’s Care Florida offers advanced digital screening mammograms, as well as the ease and convenience of having your mammogram screening done in-office. Our physicians and mammographers have direct access to radiologists to ensure results are rapidly reported to you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment, and to learn more about our women’s health services.