Today, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Of those, 70% had no significant risk factors, like genetic risk factors or strong family history of breast cancer. The best defense a woman has against breast cancer is scheduling an annual mammogram. The sooner the cancer is found; the better the outcome. Even men can get breast cancer and should be evaluated if they find a lump.
The American Cancer Society and UAB Breast Imaging both recommend yearly
mammograms for women over 40. Even women without symptoms (pain, a lump, or nipple discharge) need to have an annual screening mammogram. A mammogram can find many breast cancers before they grow large enough to feel.
A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast that can show areas of concern, like abnormal tissue or calcifications. While it can find abnormal tissue, it cannot always tell benign from cancerous. The test can alert your doctor to problems that need additional evaluation.
Over the 30 years mammograms have been used, technological advances have made the process both more comfortable for women and improved imaging for doctors.