Facts about Mammograms

Facts about Mammograms

American Cancer Society

Breast Cancer can happen at any age but the risk goes up as you get older. If you are a woman 40 years of age or older, talk with a doctor about the breast cancer screening plan that’s best for you.

Screening for breast cancer can help find it early. Finding breast cancer early, when it’s small and has not spread, gives you more treatment choices and can help save your life.

How do I find breast cancer early?

All women should talk to a doctor about the known pros, cons and possible harms linked to breast cancer screening.

All women should also know how their breasts normally look and feel so they can notice changes quickly. Any breast change should be reported to a doctor right away.

Women between ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening if they wish to do so.

Women ages 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.

Women 55 and older can keep getting screened every year or can switch to mammograms every 2 years.

Screening should  be done as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live at least 10 more years.

Some women at high risk for breast cancer-because of their family history, a genetic tendency or other factors, may need to have an MRI along with their mammograms. Talk to your doctor about your risk for breast cancer and the best screening plan for you.

If your doctor hasn’t told you about a mammogram, it doesn’t mean you don’t need one. Ask about it yourself, Insist on getting the care you deserve!

What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is an x-ray of the breasts. It can often help find breast cancer before a lump can be felt.

Common questions women have about breast cancer and mammograms

No one in my family has ever had breast cancer, so do I really need to be screened?

Yes, Your risk is greater if a close relative has had breast cancer.

If I’m going to get breast cancer, there’s nothing I can do about it.

Yes, there is. We can’t stop all breast cancers but we know that finding cancer when it’s small and has not spread gives a woman the best chance of beating this disease. A mammogram can often help find a tumor before you can feel it.

If a lump is found while it’s still small and only in the breast, a woman has more treatment choices. Early detection means that a woman’s chances for saving her breast are better and treatment will almost always have fewer side effects.

Mammograms cost a lot. How can I afford one?

Medicare, Medicaid and almost all insurance plans cover mammograms. There are some low-cost mammogram programs too. Some doctors, hospitals or clinics also may lower their fees for women who can’t afford the usual charge. Call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 to learn more low-cost programs where you live.

Mammograms are x-rays. Are they safe?

Through the years, both the machines and how mammograms are done have greatly improved. Today the level of radiation is very low and the benefits of mammograms outweigh the risk.

What’s it like to get a mammogram? Does it hurt? Is it embarrassing?

When you get a mammogram, you stand beside the machine, and a specially trained technologist helps place your breast on a plastic plate. A second plastic plate is put on top and for a few seconds, the top plate is pushed down and flattens the breast to get a good clear picture. Two pictures usually are taken of each breast. Many women feel some discomfort. Tell the technologist if you have pain. A mammogram takes about 15 minutes. But the squeezing only lasts a short time.

It’s a good idea to wear a blouse with a skirt or pants, rather than a dress since you’ll have to undress about the waist. You’ll be given a short gown to wear during the exam.

A specialist called a radiologist, will look at the mammogram to see if there are any areas of concern.

What happens if they find something?

If a suspicious area is found, you may have more mammogram pictures taken. An ultrasound may also be done. This test will show if it’s a fluid-filled cyst that’s not cancer or a solid mass which may or may not cancer.

If the area still looks suspicious, a doctor may use a thin, hollow needle to take out a small piece of it. (Removing all or part of the suspicious area is called a biopsy {Removing all or part of the suspicious area is called a biopsy[by-op-see].) This pieces is tested in  a lab to see if there are cancer cells in it.

A biopsy is the only sure way to know if you have breast cancer.

But even if you’re told you need a biopsy, remember that most lumps or suspicious areas are not cancer.

If the biopsy shows that you have cancer, you and your doctor will discuss treatment options. Early breast cancer often can be treated by taking out the lump or part of the breast rather than the whole breast.

What if I find something that worries me?

If you find a lump, see any dimpling or puckering of the skin or notice any new change in the way your breasts feel or look see a doctor right away.

It probably isn’t cancer but do yourself a favor and have it checked out.

Get Regular mammograms.

Regular breast cancer screening with mammograms can often help find breast cancer early-when it’s small and has not spread. This is when there are more treatment choices and treatment works best.

You need to know about mammograms! They could save your life.

For the latest information about breast cancer and how to find it early, visit the American Cancer Society website at http://www.cancer.org or call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-227-2345.  We’re here for you every step of the way.

American Cancer Society


1-800-227-2345/1-866-228-4327 TTY

When we walk together, we’re one step closer to beating breast cancer.


Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the American Cancer Society pamphlet and I give them full credit on the information. For information on their research or on the program, please call or email the above numbers.



About jwatrel

I am a free-lance writer and Blogger. I am the author of the book "Firehouse 101" (IUniverse.com 2005) part of trilogy of books centered in New York City. My next book "Love Triangles" is finished being edited and should be ready for release in the Fall. My latest book, "Dinner at Midnight", a thriller is on its last chapter. My long awaited book explains the loss of the 2004 Yankee game to Boston. I work as a Consultant, Adjunct College Professor, Volunteer Fireman and Ambulance member and Blogger. I have a blog site for caregivers called 'bergencountycaregiver', a step by step survival guide to all you wonderful folks taking care of your loved ones, a walking project to walk every block, both sides, of the island of Manhattan "MywalkinManhattan" and discuss what I see and find on the streets of New York and three sites to accompany it. One is an arts site called "Visiting a Museum", where I showcase small museums, historical sites and parks that are off the beaten track both in Manhattan and outside the city to cross reference with "MywalkinManhattan" blog site. Another is "DiningonaShoeStringNYC", featuring small restaurants I have found on my travels in this project, that offer wonderful meals for $10.00 and under. So be on the lookout for updates on all three sites and enjoy 'MywalkinManhattan'. The third is my latest site, "LittleShoponMainStreet", which showcases all the unique and independent shops that I have found on my travels throughout and around Manhattan. I have started two new blog sites for the fire department, one "EngineOneHasbrouck HeightsFireDepartmentnj" for the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department to discuss what our Engine Company is doing and the other is "BergenCountyFireman'sHomeAssociation" for the Bergen County Fireman's Association, which fire fighters from Bergen County, NJ, go to the Fireman's Home in Boonton, NJ to bring entertainment and cheer to our fellow brother fire fighters quarterly.
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1 Response to Facts about Mammograms

  1. jwatrel says:

    Please check with your doctor if you see something suspicious.

    Liked by 1 person

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