WHY IS A MAMMOGRAM IMPORTANT?
Your breasts shape your image as a woman. You breastfeed as a mother and it adds to your femininity, but they could harm your health as well.
A mammogram is an X-ray picture of your breast. Screening mammograms usually involve two X-ray pictures, or images, of each of your breasts. The images make it possible to detect tumours that cannot be felt. Screening mammograms can also find micro calcifications (tiny deposits of calcium) that sometimes indicate the presence of breast cancer.
Mammograms don’t prevent breast cancer, but they can save lives by checking for breast cancer. It’s a fast and safe procedure of about 20 minutes. Detecting breast cancer early reduces your risk of dying from the disease by 25-30% or more. Women should begin having mammograms yearly at age 40, or earlier if you’re at high risk.
Why are mammograms important?
- Mammograms can be used to check for breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms.
- It can be used to check for cancer after a lump or other sign or symptom of the disease is found.
- A mammogram helps with early detection of cancer and this helps because treatment can start earlier and be more effective.
- It gives you piece of mind and protects your health.
Any negative effects?
- A small amount of radiation is used during a mammogram.
- A false positive result may be found after a mammogram. A false positive result is when a radiologist decides that your mammogram is abnormal, although no cancer has been detected.
- This result could be harmful to your emotional and mental health, as it could cause anxiety and stress in women.
- The procedure may be pricey, if done constantly.
How to prepare for a mammogram
- Schedule your test for a time when your breasts are likely to be tender. This would usually be the week before and after your
- Avoid using deodorant, powders, creams or perfumes under your arms or on your breasts. The metallic particles in these products may
cause confusion in the images of your mammogram.
- Bring any previous mammogram results with you so that the radiologist can compare your old results with the current ones.
- Consider taking an over-the-counter pain medication an hour before your mammogram, as it may help with any pain you may experience.
Good to know
- Check your own breasts regularly for anything unusual such as lumps, change in shape or discharge.
- If you are over the age of 40, try to get a digital mammogram done as it is more accurate.
- A regular clinical breast exam along with a high-quality screening mammogram is the most effective way to detect cancer.