According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, “One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.” Breast cancer, like many other cancers, is most treatable when detected at an early stage. Awareness of the facts and statistics surrounding breast cancer is the key in empowering people to make informed decisions about their health. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of screening for breast cancer and the different screening methods for detection.
Mammography, or Mammograms, is the most well-known and widely used method for breast cancer screening. A mammogram involves taking X-ray images of the breast tissue to identify anything abnormal. For example, an abnormal growth, cyst or tumor. Mammograms are recommended for women at the age of 40 to be performed annually.
Clinical Breast Examination
This in-office exam will most likely be completed by your family physician or gynecologist at your annual exam. During the examination, the healthcare provider manually examines the breast tissue to check for any abnormalities, such as lumps or changes in texture.
Breast self-exams involve examining your breast regularly to check for any unusual changes. While they are a helpful practice, it is important to understand that they are not a standalone method for breast cancer screening. Self-exams should be done in conjunction with clinical breast examinations and mammography for a comprehensive approach to early detection. Attached here is a YouTube video by the National Breast Cancer Foundation on how to complete a self-exam.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI is recommended for breast cancer screening, especially for women with higher risk of developing the disease due to genetic mutations or family history. MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed images of the breast tissue. According to the Mayo Clinic, a breast MRI is a great test but should be paired with a mammogram. An MRI can still miss some breast cancers that a mammogram will find.
With the combination of mammography, clinical breast examinations, and self-exams, you can create a defense against breast cancer. Breast cancer screening is not a one-time event but an ongoing practice. Whether you have breast implants or not, it’s important to discuss your screening plan with your healthcare provider to ensure it’s tailored to your specific needs. For more information on breast cancer awareness visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation. If you are interested in scheduling a breast surgery consultation with Dr. Diederich visit our website!