One in eight women in the United States develops invasive breast cancer at some point in her life. Timely detection that catches breast cancer in its early, most treatable stage offers the best chance for a cure.
You likely already know the best way to discover breast cancer before it has a chance to spread: Get routine clinical breast exams and high-quality screening mammograms.
Simply put, mammography saves lives — and having regular screening mammograms can save your life. Unless your family history or inherited gene mutations (BRCA1 and BRCA2) places you in the high-risk category for earlier screening mammograms, you should start scheduling annual mammograms by the age of 45.
If you’re among the hundreds of thousands of women across the country who haven’t had any routine checkups or health screenings since the COVID-19 pandemic began, our seasoned team of women’s wellness experts at Panhandle Obstetrics and Gynecology can help you get back on track.
Here are six good reasons to get your next mammogram on the calendar as soon as possible.
If you skipped your last mammogram — or if you haven’t had one in several years — there’s no time like the present to break the trend and restore this key element of preventive care.
As the most common form of cancer among women in the US, breast cancer accounts for about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in American women each year. As frightening as that may seem, it’s important to remember that early detection is always your best defense.
In fact, invasive breast cancer that’s caught and treated before it spreads beyond your breast tissue has a five-year survival rate of 99%. Although a range of factors can affect your treatment outlook, one fact remains: The sooner you catch breast cancer, the better.
Having a close family history of breast cancer can substantially increase your chances of developing the disease. Breast cancer risk is also heightened by having a family history of ovarian cancer.
If a close (first-degree) relative like your mother, sister, or daughter has been affected by either of these cancers, your risk for breast cancer almost doubles. If two close relatives have had breast or ovarian cancer, your personal breast cancer risk increases three-fold.
There’s a common misconception that regular mammograms are only important for women who have a strong family history of the disease. We’d like to debunk this myth right here: Regular mammograms are important for all women, including those with no significant family history.
If you’re still not convinced, just consider the fact that most (over 85%) of the roughly 288,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer each year don’t have a family history of the disease. In other words, any woman can develop breast cancer.
Even if you’ve had several normal or unproblematic mammograms in the past, it’s still very important to continue having regular mammograms as you get older. That’s because, like a wide range of other cancers and chronic illnesses, your breast cancer risk increases with age.
While it’s true that women of all ages can get breast cancer, most cases occur in women who are over the age of 40. Outside of female gender, advanced age is the top risk factor for breast cancer. Women aged 55 and older account for two in three invasive breast cancer diagnoses.
Aside from female gender, older age, family history, and inherited BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations, other factors that can raise your breast cancer risk include:
Being overweight (especially after menopause), lack of regular exercise, and drinking alcohol are other significant risk factors for breast cancer. If you’re worried about your breast cancer risk, our team can help you make a list of the factors you can — and can’t — change.
At Panhandle Obstetrics and Gynecology, getting a mammogram typically takes 30 minutes or less. We offer a choice of appointment times so you can select one that’s most convenient for you, whether it’s over your lunch hour, before work, or later in the day.
We’re open 8am - 5pm, Monday through Thursday, and 8am - 12pm on Friday. To schedule your next mammogram, give us a call at 806-359-5468 today!