What is a mammogram and should every woman have one done?
Written by Nalia Irani on Saturday 28 Nov, 2015
A mammogram is a simple, safe test, which uses a method of low-dose x-rays to take a picture of the internal breast tissue of a woman. Regular mammograms are the best tests doctors have to find breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before it can be felt. When breast cancer is found early, many women go on to live long and healthy lives.
For most women, who are not at especially high risk of breast cancer, regular mammograms can start at age 50. A woman can get one mammogram earlier (around age 45) and then if it is normal, wait until she is 50 for her next mammogram. This is the advice that the National Center for Health Research and their Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund have been giving since 2007.
The importance of screening for breast cancer
Regular screening for breast cancer can help detect at an early stage, when treatment is most likely to be successful. A mammogram can find breast changes that could be cancer years before physical symptoms develop. Results from many decades of research clearly show that women who have regular mammograms are more likely to have breast cancer found early and are less likely to need aggressive treatment.
Clinical & Self Breast Exam
Research does not show a clear benefit of physical breast exams done by either a health professional or by yourself for breast cancer screening. All women should be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel and report any changes to a healthcare provider right away.