Breast cancer screening is a method of screening woman’s breast for any early signs of cancer. All women must be made aware about these screening methods by their health care professionals. Once you are informed about the benefits and risks of screening, only then you can decide what is right and wrong for you. Once you have all the information you would be in the right position to take the right decision.
Although breast cancer screening cannot prevent breast cancers, it can be used as a very efficient tool to diagnose early signs of cancer and provide just in time treatment for the sure cure of the same.
There are different breast cancer screening tests but Mammograms and MRI are the most popular ones. Mammogram is an x-ray of the breast which is the best way to find breast cancer in its early stages and provide the right treatment thereby reducing the risk of dying from breast cancer.
MRI is another form of diagnosis of breast cancer wherein magnets and radio waves are used to take pictures of the breast. However, Mammogram is most accurate and highly recommended for breast cancer diagnosis.
Certain Facts about Breast Cancer:
A woman’s chance of developing invasive breast cancer at any point in life is about 12% which is also one of the leading causes of cancer mortality among young women.
Women older than 30 years should undergo diagnostic mammography if they have symptoms, such as a palpable lump, breast skin thickening or indentation, nipple discharge or retraction, erosive sore of the nipple, or breast pain.
There are 2 types of mammography examinations: Screening and Diagnostic. Screening mammography is done in asymptomatic women. Screening mammography is recommended every 1-2 years for women in their 40s and it is recommended every year once they reach 50 years of age. Diagnostic mammography is recommended for women when certain symptoms like a breast lump or nipple discharge is found during self-examination or an abnormality is found during screening mammography.
According to data from the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project, the false-negative rate of mammography is approximately 8-10% which means that 1-3% of women with a clinically suspicious abnormality, a negative mammogram, and a negative sonogram may still have breast cancer.
When cancer cases are critical breast ultrasound is used to provide accurate diagnosis as they are performed using high resolution units. In about 10-40% of the cases the ultrasound can be deployed to provide better diagnosis which also depends on the patient’s age and breast density.
Risks of Mammogram
a.) Mammogram are x-rays and should not be exposed to if not required. You should keep record of any past x-rays in case if you have a cumulative number of x-rays over a longer period of time.
b.) Radiation exposure during pregnancy may lead to birth defect in the baby. Hence it should be avoided.
In ideal case, women who are at high risk for breast cancer or with a history of breast cancer may be recommended a routine checkup or a mammography.