Breast Cancer….a very scary set of words. There has been a lot of controversy lately on the benefits of mammography and talk about changing the recommendations. Patients would like the facts or odds about getting breast cancer. Here are some simple facts about breast cancer. 75% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have NO family history of the disease and are NOT considered high risk for it. Out of every 6 women ages 40 - 49, ONE will have breast cancer. For women 50 years old and older, even doing a mammogram every other year could miss up to 30% of cancers.
Breast cancer at its earliest stage is many times found during the yearly mammogram, far sooner than lumps being large enough to be felt. It has been proven that in most cancers, the earlier it is detected the better the outcomes!
This is true with breast cancer. THAT IS WHY MAMMOGRAMS ARE IMPORTANT!
Currently, there is no testing to replace mammograms. This is our best tool available for screening. There have been recent improvements in the mammogram and that is the 3D mammogram which is a more thorough showing of the breast tissue and allows for less false positives when testing. The American College of Radiology recommends that women start screening for breast cancer at age 40 on a yearly basis. Help yourself stay healthy and encourage your loved ones to be screened.
Melissa Pearson, ARNP, BSN, MSN, FNP- BC
Family Nurse Practitioner
UnityPoint Health Family Medicine – Tama/Toledo