The Truth About the Pros and Cons of Mammograms

Mammograms are vital for your breast health. The myth that mammograms cause breast cancer to spread continues to circulate the internet. This causes many to question why mammograms are important. However, this myth is false. Mammograms help find breast cancer. Early detection using mammograms helps breast cancer patients seek treatment at a crucial time. Furthermore, you should know some results can come back false-positive. Here is the truth about the pros and cons of mammograms.

Facts on the effects of false-positive mammograms

Learning that your mammography exam came back positive feels alarming. Receiving a positive result feels 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. One of the biggest cons in the pros and cons of mammograms lies in the fact that women who receive false-positive screenings tend to return less for their next screening. This puts 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. However, women with a false-positive result but no cancer detected tended to return for screenings over four years later. Furthermore, many of them fell into late-stage malignancy.

“At Women’s Care Florida, we believe at-risk women or those of the appropriate age should get a mammogram every year regardless of false-positive screening results. Research determines mammogram screenings as the most effective method for the early detection of breast cancer.” Says Women’s Care Florida Dr. Anu Saigal.

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. Likewise, they can also choose to get yearly mammograms depending on the status of their health. Additionally, women with risk factors such as personal history, a family history, a genetic mutation known to increase her risk of breast cancer, etc. should receive an MRI and mammogram every year.

Research indicates that women who receive regular mammograms need to undergo less aggressive treatment and chemotherapy. Furthermore, they tend to have a successful recovery.

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.

Get a Jump Start on Your Breast Health

Women should be thinking about their breast health all year. Most doctors recommend doing a self-examination once a month to familiarize yourself with what feels normal and abnormal. For women in the United States, breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, aside from lung cancer.

Get Screened

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.

Breast Health Facts for Prevention

You shouldn’t stop there, either. There are many other ways you can protect yourself from breast cancer. Here is some lifestyle-related breast cancer risk factors women should be aware of:

  • Drinking alcohol is linked to an increased risk of 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.

5 Advantages of Digital Mammograms

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 sounds scary. However, by undergoing routine mammogram screenings, you can detect breast cancer early. Plus, you can seek treatments that can help improve your rate of survival. The experts at Women’s Care Florida ask women to do more to safeguard their health with screenings and prevention by using the best mammograms available. Learn more about the benefits of digital mammograms and how you can schedule one today.

When to get digital mammograms

The American Cancer Society recommends that women between the ages of 45 and 54 get mammograms every year. In addition, women aged 55 and up can get mammograms less frequently — every two years if desired. When they feel ready, women between the ages of 40 and 44 can start getting annual mammograms. In some cases, your gynecologist may recommend you begin mammograms earlier than 40. This depends on your health status and any existing risk factors you may have.

Digital mammogram technology

Mammogram technology evolved to offer breast cancer patients the best possible outcome. With digital mammograms, providers store digital images of your breasts on a computer rather than on film or an x-ray print. High-quality breast cancer screenings effectively detect breast cancer. However, digital mammograms offer the following five benefits:

  1. Radiologists can zoom in to locate and examine abnormalities more clearly and efficiently.
  2. Staff update images constantly during screenings to carefully evaluate image quality and abnormalities.
  3. This type of digital technology allows for fewer test re-takes and follow-up screenings.
  4. Digital mammograms can better identify abnormalities in denser breast tissue, especially in women under the age of 50.
  5. Digital files can be sent electronically to other physicians and specialists for optimal communication, care and support between providers.

We recommend every woman to get their breasts screened before any symptoms developed. Doctors can treat cancer better when discovered in the early stages. Much of the time these early cases have better chances for survival. Millions of breast cancer survivors exist today. We can thank early detection and improvements in testing and treatment for that.

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.