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How to Keep Your Patients From Skipping Mammograms

How to Keep Your Patients From Skipping Mammograms

Mammography is the method of examining the breasts for screening and diagnosis using low-energy X-rays. Mammography is intended to detect breast cancer early in women who do not yet exhibit any symptoms or indicators of the illness. Our skilled professionals deliver outstanding care to individuals to help them reach and maintain optimal health. For more information, contact us or book an appointment online. We have convenient locations to serve you in Woodbridge VA, Falls Church VA, Pentagon City VA, Arlington VA, Kingstowne Center VA, Richmond Hwy Alexandria VA, and Alexandra VA.

How to Keep Your Patients From Skipping Mammograms
How to Keep Your Patients From Skipping Mammograms

Table of Contents:

What is the main purpose of a mammogram?
Why is it important to get mammograms?
What are the new mammogram guidelines?
How often should you get a mammogram if you have dense breasts?

What is the main purpose of a mammogram?


A mammogram, utilizing low-dose X-rays, is a clinical imaging method primarily used for breast cancer screening. It provides a valuable method of detecting breast cancer in its earliest stages when it is most treatable. Mammograms produce detailed images of breast tissue, enabling the identification of lumps or abnormalities that might suggest cancer.

These images are crucial for diagnosing breast cancer, particularly early on. The effectiveness of mammography lies in its ability to reveal tumors too small to be felt physically by a patient or doctor. This early detection is vital, as cancer is more easily treated when it is smaller and discovered in an early stage. Breast cancer is a highly common issue among women, affecting one in eight American women over the course of their life. According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate of breast cancer is 99% when it is detected early.

Despite the enormous benefits associated with getting mammograms, mammogram screenings remain at a mere 85.3 percent of their pre-COVID-19 numbers.

Why is it important to get mammograms?


Mammograms play a critical role in the early detection of breast cancer, substantially improving the chances of successful treatment and survival, by identifying the condition in its early stages.

Mammograms are instrumental in identifying cancer at a stage when it is small, thereby allowing for more treatment options and a better chance of recovery. While mammograms do not prevent breast cancer or reduce the risk of developing it, they are essential in early detection. This early discovery is crucial, as it can lead to more effective treatment options, a wider array of treatment options, and potentially prevent the cancer from spreading.

Mammograms are important for both asymptomatic individuals and for finding breast cancer when there are symptoms like a lump, nipple discharge, or skin dimpling. While some individuals avoid regular mammograms either because they are currently healthy or they find the procedure uncomfortable, mammograms are potentially life-saving.

As with many serious chronic conditions, preventative screenings dramatically increase the likelihood of positive health outcomes.

What are the new mammogram guidelines?


The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has updated mammogram guidelines as of May 2023. These new recommendations advise women to start breast cancer screening at age 40, which is a revision from the previously recommended starting age of 50. The USPSTF suggests that screening mammograms should be conducted every other year for women aged between 40 and 74.

This change in guidelines is crucial as it recognizes the importance of early detection in younger women. These guidelines are general recommendations and might vary based on individual risk factors, including family history and genetic predispositions. Some women may be encouraged to have a mammogram even more frequently, as directed by their provider.

How often should you get a mammogram if you have dense breasts?


Dense breast tissue, which has higher amounts of glandular and fibrous connective tissues, complicates mammogram readings. In dense breasts, both normal tissue and abnormal changes appear white, increasing the risk of cancer being missed during a mammogram.

Therefore, women with dense breasts are often advised to undergo more frequent screenings, potentially every six months. Additionally, supplementary tests such as ultrasounds or MRIs might be recommended. The screening frequency for women with dense breasts should be personalized, based on their individual needs and risk factors.

The updated USPSTF guidelines emphasize the value of earlier and more frequent screenings for breast cancer. For all women, including those with dense breasts, adhering to these guidelines and consulting with healthcare providers to develop a personalized screening plan is crucial for early detection and effective treatment of breast cancer.

Mammograms are available at Nova Patient Care. For more information, contact us or book an appointment online. We serve patients from Annandale VA, Arlington VA, Bethel VA, Dale City VA, Falls Church VA, Fort Hunt VA, Franconia VA, Huntington VA, Richmond Hwy Alexandria VA, Idylwood VA, Kingstowne Center Alexandria VA, Lake Barcroft VA, Mclean VA, Newington VA, Old Town Alexandria VA, Pentagon City Arlington VA, Seven Corners VA, Tysons VA, Woodbridge, VA, and surrounding areas.

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