The Importance of Regular Mammograms

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) and America is thinking pink. The team at Charles River Medical Associates is doing its part to support BCAM by spreading the word about early detection through regular mammograms. 

A mammogram takes an x-ray picture of the breast, but it safely works at much lower radiation doses than a typical x-ray. Mammograms can detect breast cancer early, when a lump is small, and even before a lump can be felt. The main abnormalities the exam reveals are calcifications and masses.

Because physicians cannot distinguish dangerous breast cancers from non-life-threatening breast cancers, regular mammograms are the best option for detecting cancer early.

There are two kinds of mammograms:

  • Screening mammograms look for signs of breast cancer in women who have no symptoms of breast cancer. X-ray images of each breast are taken from two angles.
  • Diagnostic mammograms examine a woman’s breast if a problem or a change is detected on a screening mammogram. Extra angles may be involved. Diagnostic mammograms are used to screen breast cancer survivors.

When should you start regular mammograms?

Organizations have issued varying opinions in recent years about the ideal age for women to begin regular screenings.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force mammogram guidelines recommend women begin screening at age 50, while the American Cancer Society recommends women begin screening at age 45. Yet both of these organizations acknowledge that beginning screening at 40 makes sense for some women.

The important thing to remember is that these are merely guidelines. Talk with your doctor to determine what’s right for you based on your personal preferences, your medical history and your individual breast cancer risk.

Total women’s healthcare and more

From breast health to comprehensive care for you and your family, Charles River Medical Associates is here you. With advanced diagnostics such as digital mammography and CT scans, and a team of skilled, compassionate providers, we proudly offer accessible, convenient medical care and urgent care at 15 locations throughout Massachusetts.

To schedule an appointment, call 508-848-2190 or click here to use our online form.