A simple exam for women’s health
At Cheyenne OBGYN, we prioritize your health and well-being, and one essential aspect of women’s healthcare is regular mammograms. A mammogram is a specialized X-ray of the breast tissue. It’s a vital tool for the early detection of breast cancer, as it can detect abnormalities such as lumps or tumors, even before they can be felt during a breast exam. Mammograms are primarily done for breast cancer screening. Detecting breast cancer early significantly increases the chances of successful treatment and recovery. Mammograms are highly accurate, with about 85-90% sensitivity. However, no test is perfect, so regular screening and breast self-exams are essential.
The recommended age to start regular mammograms can vary based on individual risk factors. In general:
- Women at average risk: Start at age 40 and have one every one to two years.
- High-risk women: Consult your healthcare provider, but mammograms may begin earlier.
Average risk for breast cancer refers to the level of risk an individual has for developing breast cancer based on general population statistics and without any specific risk factors that significantly elevate their likelihood of developing the disease. Here are some characteristics of individuals considered to be at average risk for breast cancer:
- No personal history: They have no personal history of breast cancer or pre-cancerous breast conditions.
- No family history: They have no close relatives (such as mother, sister, or daughter) with a history of breast cancer.
- No known genetic mutations: They do not carry known high-risk gene mutations like BRCA1 or BRCA2.
- No radiation exposure: They have not received chest radiation therapy at a young age (which can increase the risk).
- Age and gender: Breast cancer risk increases with age, so individuals at average risk typically fall within the general population age range for recommended screening, which often starts around age 40 or 50.
- No other known risk factors: They do not have other known risk factors that significantly increase their breast cancer risk.
How to prepare for mammograms
- Schedule an appointment: Contact Cheyenne OBGYN at 307-634-5216 to schedule your mammogram.
- Choose the right timing: Schedule your mammogram for a time when your breasts are least likely to be tender. This is usually the week following your period.
- No deodorants or lotions: Avoid using deodorants, perfumes, or lotions on your breast area on the day of your mammogram.
- Wear comfortable clothing: Wear a two-piece outfit for ease during the procedure.
What to expect during your mammograms
- You will be asked to undress from the waist up and put on a gown.
- Your breast will be gently compressed between two plates to flatten and spread the tissue.
- X-ray images will be taken from different angles.
- The entire process is relatively quick, usually taking about 20 minutes.
- Some women may find mammograms slightly uncomfortable due to the compression of breast tissue, but the discomfort is usually brief. The benefits of early cancer detection far outweigh any temporary discomfort.
After your mammograms
After your exam, a radiologist will interpret the images. The results are typically categorized as:
- Negative: No signs of cancer.
- Benign: Non-cancerous findings, such as cysts.
- Suspicious: Further tests, like a biopsy, may be needed to determine if cancer is present. Your healthcare provider will discuss the results with you and recommend any necessary follow-up steps.
Don’t delay – schedule your mammogram today! Early detection can save lives, and we’re here to support your breast health every step of the way. Contact Cheyenne OBGYN at 307-634-5216 to book your appointment and take a proactive approach to your well-being. Your health matters to us!