Hit your 40s? It is quite scary when you reach your 40s as suddenly people start getting concerned about your health more than you. There are awareness campaigns on breast cancer etc. mostly everywhere that talk about the importance of mammograms. While these awareness programs are all for a good cause, they may also alarm you unnecessarily. Let us get some insight into what the screening procedures are for breast cancer and why it is good to undergo the same.
What Is A Mammogram?
A mammogram is similar to an X-ray of the breast which is taken as a preliminary screening test to detect breast cancer. It is a very effective diagnosis and a useful tool that can save many lives. There is nothing to fear about, as a mammogram is a non-invasive test that is making use of radiation to take pictures of the interior part of the breast. It helps doctors to find out irregularities and deformities. Mammograms are now being conducted regularly as a means of detecting cancer in the initial stages itself. It is part of the routine health check-ups conducted in many women’s medical screening tests.
Who Needs A Mammogram?
- Women above 40 years of age can undergo initial screening
- Those who have a history of breast cancer in the family
- Women who have had a genetic mutation that can have implications of breast cancer
- Someone who has been exposed to radiation therapy earlier in life
How Is A Mammogram Done?
This is just a 30-minute procedure that is nothing to get tensed about. All you have to do stand in front of the Xray machine to capture the images of the breast tissues. Normally there will be four images that will give clarity on the internal tissues. You will have to press your chest against the x-ray machine and this may give a pressurized feeling. The entire process will take just 10 minutes after which you will be advised to wait for the results.
Benefits of having a mammogram early enough:
You can save your life
There are so many medical cases wherein the cancer is detected only at later stages after the condition of the patient gets serious. Treatment during the last stages will not be as effective as detecting in the early stages. Getting a mammogram done as part of routine health check-ups will help you to stay assured that any abnormalities can be treated successfully at the right time. This can save several lives and give reassurance to many others.
Detect early to get effective treatment
Can you believe that 95 percent of breast cancer can be treated effectively when detected through mammograms at the early stages? If women have the habit of taking these tests regularly, they can detect any abnormalities even before the usual symptom of feeling the lump in the breasts. Once cancer starts spreading to other parts of the body, it becomes difficult to control the growth of cancer spreading cells. There is only around 25 percent of chances of survival once the diseases spread to other parts. This makes the treatment more intense and painful. The emotional trauma also becomes harder to bear when the patient has to suffer so much.
As age increases, so does the risk.
The female body undergoes so much transformation, especially after childbirth. If not taken care of properly, the body gets weak and prone to illness. Regular exercise, a healthy balanced diet, and routine health check-ups can help to minimize risky situations. When you grow older, the hormonal balance is also undergoing a lot of change. This will bring about so many changes in the entire body composition. So it is better to get mammograms and other vital blood check-ups regularly once you are 35 or above.
Less time consuming
As explained above, the whole procedure does not take up much of your valuable time. You have to spend around 15minutes in the Xray room and then you are done with the test. The results will be handed over, with which you can approach the doctor. Spending 15 minutes for a mammogram might go a long way in saving many lives. There is also emotional security when you know that the results are all good and you have nothing to worry about. On the other hand, if there is some abnormality, you can always be assured of proper treatment and care at the right time.
Take some time off your busy schedules and invest it in your health. A couple of hours to do a check-up that could save your life is worth it once you make up your mind to stay fit and healthy!