Certain risk factors can help determine if yearly screening right for you
It’s a universally-accepted fact that early detection in breast cancer (or, for that matter, all types of cancer) is essential to fighting and beating the disease. However, the medical world is still hesitant to recommend an extensive amount of screening tests, including mammograms, the most common tool for locating breast cancer. This conservative approach to testing is due to many factors, including worries about unnecessary radiation exposure, false-positives, and the potentially-harmful side-effects of treatment.
However, there is no definitive rule that says you can’t get tested as often as you wish; there are merely professional guidelines that are designed to weigh the both needs of the medical profession and the overall population of potential patients. So, is there a situation where you should have annual testing?
We’d like to highlight four specific factors that should influence you to consider yearly screening for breast cancer. If any of this criteria applies to you, talk with your doctors and your loved ones to decide if routine mammograms are right for you.
1. You’re between the ages of 45 and 55
The American Cancer Society is hesitant to recommend breast cancer screenings to all women, but they do recommend that women between the ages of 45 and 55 have mammograms every year. This guideline applies to all healthy women in this age group who have an average risk for cancer, but there are situations when women of different ages should be tested regularly.
2. History of breast cancer in the family
Using assessment tools that are primarily based on family history, doctors can determine your risk levels for breast cancer. Women who have a lifetime risk of 20 to 25 percent should consider annual mammograms.
3. You have certain syndromes
There are three syndromes that have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. These are Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, and Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome. If you or a close relative has one of these conditions, it’s a good idea to consider annual mammograms.
4. You’ve had radiation therapy to the chest in the past
If you had radiation therapy to the chest between the ages of 10 and 30 years-old, it is recommended that you receive annual mammograms. Receiving it early in life has been shown to increase the risk of cancer cells in the body.
Remember to think about risk and reward
Deciding to get routine breast cancer screenings can be a complex, deeply-emotional, and potentially-frightening topic, but it really comes down to assessing risk vs. reward. If you are at a higher risk for breast cancer, then the potential benefits of yearly mammograms and other cancer screenings are significant.
In the end, you should talk with your doctor and your family, know your family history and other risk levels, and make the decision that is right for your wellbeing.
Get kind, caring mammogram service
If you have additional questions, contact POM MRI and you’ll get the information you need and the service you deserve. And if you or your doctor have decided that a screening is the right option, request your mammogram screening today.