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Breast cancer deaths are down in women who have mammograms. This is partly due to these tests uncovering the condition early, when the cancer is easier to treat. But experts are concerned that this success story may be leading women to the dangerous conclusion that breast X-rays aren’t important. As fewer women get mammograms, more deaths could result. It is imperative that women remain vigilant with their breast health and age-appropriate screenings, since researchers have yet to determine what causes cancer.
Women still have about a 1 in 8 lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. In addition, as women age, their odds of developing the disease rise dramatically. The majority of breast cancer cases occur in women older than age 50.
That’s why health experts recommend women get a mammogram every one to two years beginning at age 40. Those at higher risk for breast cancer because of personal or family history of the disease should ask their doctor about when to start and how often they should be screened.
According to the National Cancer Institute, other risk factors for breast cancer besides age include:
Here are some tips for a successful mammogram:
If you have had breast imaging studies done at another facility, you should get those studies and bring them to your current appointment so that the radiologist can make a comparison. Remember, too, that as good as mammograms are, they can still miss 10 to 15 percent of breast abnormalities. If you have a lump or change in your breast that does not show up on a mammogram, it should be evaluated by a health care professional.
Find a San Diego Oncologist
To find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego oncologist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.