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The Importance of Mammograms for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer

| Date Posted: 10/12/2011 | Author: Chris Whitesell

Discovering cancer early enables patients to receive treatment sooner and increases their chance of recovery. A mammogram is a highly effective tool for finding breast cancer at a very early stage, when it is most curable. Routine mammograms help women find breast cancer before any symptoms appear.

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. It allows the physician to look for calcifications and masses that may be present in the breast tissue. Keep in mind that a mammogram does not prove that an abnormal area is cancerous. A cyst and tumor may look very similar on a mammogram. If an area of concern is found, a biopsy must be performed to determine if cancer is present.

The American Cancer Society recommends that all women age 40 and over should have a screening mammogram every year. These screenings may not be as effective in women who are younger and have dense breast tissue. If you are under 40 and at a high risk of developing breast cancer, your physician may recommend an MRI screening in addition to a mammogram.

While breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers, death rates from this disease have been declining since about 1990. These decreases are thought to be largely due to early detection through screenings, like mammograms, as well as increased public awareness and improvements in treatment.

Many women may put off having a mammogram because they do not have the time or are worried about the discomfort. The whole procedure only takes about 20 minutes and the actual breast compression only lasts a few seconds. Identifying breast cancer early and receiving treatment is crucial to your recovery. If you are a woman age 40 or over, don’t put off your mammogram any longer. Contact your physician today to schedule one.

FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital provides world-class breast cancer treatment to patients in the Pinehurst, Raeford, Sanford, Rockingham, Laurinburg, Lumberton, and Troy regions of North Carolina, including breast cancer therapy and support.

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