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The 6 W's of Mammograms

1. What?

Screening(SKREE-NING) — Using a test to find a specific disease or condition at an early point in the course of a disease techniques are tests used to find a disease or condition at an early stage. There are many types of screening tests for finding breast cancer, but mammography(MAM-MAH-GROW-FEE) — A screening test that uses x-rays to look for breast cancer is the most commonly recommended method. During a mammogram(MAM-O-GRAM) — A screening test that uses x-rays to look for breast cancer, each breast is compressed (smushed) between two plates, and low-dose x-rays(EX-RAYS) — Energy particles that pass through tissue to obtain an image of the body are used to examine the breast tissue(TISH-YOU) — The accumulation of cells that make up parts of the body, like organs.

2. Why?

The purpose of a mammogram is to find breast cancer at a very early stage when it is still small. Detecting breast cancer early can reduce treatment(TREET-MINT) — Techniques to help eliminate or control a disease and side effects, increase cure rates (prognosis(PRAHG-NO-SIS) — A predicted outcome for groups of patients), and help patients live longer with a better quality of life.

3. Who?

A mammogram is suggested for all women between the ages of 50 and 75. But, women outside of this range may also be recommended. Women who are at higher risk for getting breast cancer should start getting mammograms before the age of 50. Those who are in good health over the age of 75 could continue to get regular mammograms. Additionally, women between the ages of 40 and 50 (with normal risk) should discuss with their doctor the risk and benefits of obtaining a mammogram to determine if it’s the right time to start for them.


4. When?

Patients who have a normal risk of getting breast cancer should get a mammogram every one to two years. Patients with higher risk will likely be recommended to have yearly mammograms.

Are you at high risk for breast cancer? See if you have any of these risk factors for breast cancer.

5. Where?

Believe it or not, getting a mammogram is one of the easiest things you can do for your health—no prescriptions necessary! Most hospital facilities and imaging centers offer mammography, and there are mobile units that may even come to your neighborhood.

6. What Else?

  1. There are a couple of different mammography techniques.
  2. Patients may be recommended to get an MRIA loud banging machine that uses magnets to obtain pictures of the inside of the body; magnetic resonance imaging if they have a high risk(HI RESK) — More likely to develop breast cancer of getting breast cancer or have dense(DENSE) — Tissue that is firm and hard to compress breasts.
  3. You can always do self-exams(SELF IG-ZAMS) — Using your hands to feel for abnormal tissue in your breast. But, keep in mind, self-exams may have limited benefits.
  4. Ultrasounds(ALL-TRA-SOUNDS) — An imaging technique that uses sound waves to differentiate types of tissue aren’t typically recommended for screening for new breast cancers, but they are a valuable test for evaluating a known abnormality.
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