Screening mammograms help detect signs of breast cancer in the early stages
Screening mammograms help our Austin obgyns detect breast cancer in the early and most treatable stages. A woman may have breast cancer, but she may not exhibit any symptoms. A lump or tumor may also be too small to be felt during a breast examination or when practicing breast self-awareness, but it can be detected using a screening mammogram.
How do screening mammograms detect cancer?
Screening mammograms are low-energy x-rays that detect areas of the breast that appear abnormal. The mammography unit compresses the breast between two plates to spread the tissue out, providing a better view of any abnormalities. When these abnormal areas are detected, the radiologist may recommend a more detailed diagnostic mammogram or other testing.
What to expect during screening mammograms
Women are sometimes nervous about coming in for a screening mammogram, but our Austin obgyns want women to know that there is no need for concern. Our technicians are skilled and experienced, and they know how to make patients comfortable during the screening. In addition, our mammography unit is specially designed to provide the best picture while using the lowest dose of radiation and causing little discomfort for the patient.
It helps many patients to know what happens during screening mammograms. Upon arrival, patients undress from the waist up and put on a gown. Patients stand in front of the mammography unit while the technician positions each breast, one at a time, between two flat plates. These plates come together, flattening the breast tissue. This can be slightly uncomfortable or feel like firm pressure. Our physicians advise patients to relax and avoid scheduling screening mammograms when their breasts are tender due to their menstrual cycle.
What are the current guidelines for breast cancer screening?
Our Austin obgyns follow the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines for screening mammograms for women who have an average risk of developing cancer.
- Our physicians counsel patients ages 40 to 49 about the procedure and offer screening mammograms to them.
- Our Austin obgyns recommend that women begin having annual mammograms beginning at age 50 if they have not started having the procedure in their 40s.
- After age 75, women should ask our physicians about the need for mammograms.
Women who have a higher risk of developing breast cancer may need to begin screening at an earlier age and may need to have it more often. Our obgyns also offer 3D mammography to all women. This type of screening detects early breast cancer more accurately, particularly in women with dense breasts.
Our Austin obgyns urge women to schedule regular screening mammograms to help in the fight against breast cancer. Contact us for an appointment.