When Was the Last Time You Went in for a Mammogram?


Given your family history your head tells you that you really do not need a second opinion about your recent diagnosis of breast cancer. Your heart, however, is aching so you want to seek out a second opinion, if for no other reason than to see if there is a different recommendation for treatment.

A breast cancer diagnosis is never easy, but it is good to know that you have caught the problem as early as possible. With the latest mammography readings and ultrasound guided breast biopsy procedures many patients are able to fight a disease that in the past seemed impossible. Whether you are a young mother who has received the devastating news of a breast cancer diagnosis or you are in your first year of retirement after working a long career in the medical field, the news that your mammography has shown a problem can cause you to doubt the news. If getting a second opinion can help you accept the news and move on with your treatment plan that it is worthwhile. It is important, however, that you follow the advice of your doctor and start your treatment plan as soon as possible.

Second Opinions Usually Help Determine If a Biopsy Is Necessary

When it comes to breast cancer, there are many women who know that they are predisposed to this condition. This knowledge, however, does not always translate into a woman getting the care that is needed. Why, for instance, would a woman who knows that both her mother and grandmother have had breast cancer avoid the health screening processes that are recommended? The truth is, there are some people who listen to their heart more than their head. Their head knows that early detection is key, but their heart cannot always deal with the implications of knowing that they are dealing with one of the most devastating pieces of news.

Compared to women without a family history, risk of breast cancer is about two times higher for women with one affected first degree female relative. These first degree relatives include a parent, a child, or a sibling. And while only 22 out of 10,000 women between the ages of 50 and 54 will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the next year, the odds being in her favor of getting a clear scan do not always provide the needed comfort.

Consider some of these other facts and figures about breast cancer and the impact that it has on the health of our nation:

  • The American Cancer Society recommends that those 40 to 44 years of age have the option to begin annual mammography for women at average-risk of breast cancer.
  • Compared to women who are inactive, women who get regular physical activity have a 10% to 20% lower risk of breast cancer.
  • Mammography reduces the risk of dying from breast cancer by 20% to 40%, according to the latest studies.
  • Likely due, in part, to higher estrogen levels because fat tissue is the largest source of estrogen in postmenopausal women, postmenopausal breast cancer risk is about one and a half times higher in overweight women and about two times higher in obese women than in lean women.
  • Women aged 60 to 69 years are most likely to avoid breast cancer death through mammography screening when compared to all other age groups.

Whether you are going in for your first ever mammogram or you are in search of a second opinion about a treatment option, it is important to make sure that you do not let your heart take the lead. Instead, you should do everything within your power to listen to your head and realize that early detection is always better than not knowing.

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