In several previous posts, we have always mentioned that early detection is key for most types of cancer – breast cancer included. The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, as part of a series of tip sheets from experts, provided these 10 tips regarding breast cancer screening.
Women who are over the age of 40 are encouraged to get a mammogram, in recognition of the fact that early detection of the disease gives patients the best chance for survival. Despite the fact that there are groups that question the positive impact of mammography to breast cancer survival, the American Cancer Society recommends that women begin to get annual mammograms upon reaching the age of 40.
That being said, however, it is preferable that a patient has her mammograms read by a mammography expert. There are studies that show that doctors who specialize in mammography have the ability to interpret images more accurately when compared to those who have less experience. This will address concerns regarding false positives, which have the tendency to bring more harm than good.
And speaking of false positives and accuracy, it is suggested further that patients with dense breast tissue opt for digital mammography. Digital scans can detect cancer better for them than traditional film mammography. The same thing holds true for women under the age of 50.
Other breast cancer screening tips are as follows: refrain from putting screening off due to discomfort or fear; try to schedule exams such that you can wait for the results; know how your breasts feel normally; get a regular breast exam; know your risk; and try an online risk calculator.