If you’re a woman in the U.S., you have a 12.4% risk of receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. That’s a scary statistic, right? Unfortunately, it’s true. Which is why it’s so important for women of all ages to take preventative measures and get screened for breast cancer. This article is going to cover the basics of breast cancer screenings to help you be better informed and ensure you’re getting screened when necessary.
Types of Breast Cancer Screenings
Breast cancer screenings are some of the most important female health services. And fortunately, screening methods have been improved over the years so they can help detect warning signs of cancer early on. Let’s talk about the most common breast cancer screening methods.
Breast exams: Either doctors or women themselves can do breast exams. Using their hands, they can feel the breasts for lumps or other changes. Any concerns that are found should be reported and looked at closer to ensure it’s treated properly.
Breast MRI: An MRI is generally only used for women who have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. MRI imaging uses magnets and radio waves to see further into the breast tissue to look for abnormalities.
Mammogram: The most common and easiest way to detect breast cancer, mammograms are given to all adult women at women’s health centers. Mammograms are an x-ray of the breast and can easily show any abnormalities, which can help detect cancer as early as possible.
When Should You Get Screened?
If there are no concerns earlier in life, women around the age of 40 begin to have the option of getting annual mammograms. Of course, if there are concerns, women may need medical scans earlier. But at the age of 45, women should start having a mammogram every year. Throughout the rest of their life, women should get regular mammograms, switching to bi-annual exams after they’re 55 years old. Overall, while it’s not required, breast cancer screenings can be extremely beneficial in detecting cancer early on. So when women are choosing their female health services, mammograms should be on the list.
Getting screened for breast cancer is a painless procedure that could potentially save a life. So all women should be aware of the benefits of these screening methods and they should consider talking to their doctor about when they should start getting screened.