It’s too easy to put off your health screenings when you’re busy. But breast exams should be a part of every woman’s wellness plan — even if you don’t have a family history of breast cancer. Regular checks can help find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat — and beat.
- Be aware of the signs and symptoms. A lump, swelling, pain, discharge, or skin changes are signs that should be checked by a doctor.
- Talk with your doctor. Ask when to start having mammograms and how often you should have one based on your health history. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast tissue, using very low levels of radiation.
Have you had a mammogram recently?
A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray picture of the breast. The amount of radiation used during the test is very low, so the risk of any harm is extremely small. This test is very important because it can help your doctor find breast cancer at an early stage when it can best be treated.
What happens during a mammogram?
- A technician uses a machine to take a few pictures of your breasts by placing each breast between two X-ray panels.
- The panels will push your breast closer between the panels to get a clear picture.
- Each X-ray picture takes less than one minute.
Who should get one?
It’s important to know that 70-80% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. And the chance of getting it is greater as you age. So discuss your family history with your health care professional. You might need to get a mammogram at an earlier age if you have a family history or personal history of breast cancer or other breast problems. Your health care professional can help you figure out when you should start having yours.