If you’re over 40, get screened. Regular mammograms increase your breast cancer survival rate by 97 percent.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, aside from skin cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, an American woman has about a 13% (one in eight) chance of developing breast cancer during her life, and that chance increases significantly once she is over age 50.
Here’s the good news: the number of deaths due to breast cancer in women over 50 has started to decrease, thanks to treatment advances, increased awareness, and the development of early detection technologies like 3D Mammography.
Through its partnership with the Woman’s Hospital of Baton Rouge, West Feliciana Hospital is making advanced cancer detection technologies available to women right here in St. Francisville. To mark National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are sharing facts about the disease, explaining the different types of mammography, and encouraging women over 40 to schedule a screening.
Early diagnosis matters
When it comes to breast cancer, early diagnosis is key. When diagnosed early, this type of cancer is highly survivable, thanks to advanced treatments that arrest the cancer before it spreads. By far, the most effective method of detecting breast cancer early is mammography. Mammograms can usually detect cancerous tumors 2 to 3 years before you or your healthcare provider can feel a lump during a breast exam.
Breast cancer is much more common in women over 50
Breast cancer is most common in women who are middle-aged or older. American Cancer Society statistics show that the median age for a breast cancer diagnosis in women in the United States is 62, meaning that half the women who develop the disease are 62 or younger when they are diagnosed, and half are older. Breast cancer diagnoses in women younger than 45 are rare.
Regular screenings increase your chances of surviving breast cancer by 97%
When combined with a monthly self-breast exam and an annual breast exam performed by a health care provider, getting an annual mammogram improves your likelihood of surviving a diagnosis by 97% if you ever develop the disease.
There are 2 types of mammograms–West Feliciana Hospital performs both
Mammography uses a low-dose X-ray procedure to examine breast tissue. Today, 2 main types of digital mammograms are performed:
- A 2D mammogram is an X-ray that compresses breast tissue between 2 plates, then records 2 images of the breast—1 from the top and 1 from the side.
- A 3D mammogram, also called tomosynthesis, takes multiple X-ray images from different angles to create a 3-dimensional image containing up to 120 layers. This enables a radiologist to view breast tissue in thin “slices,” almost like flipping through the pages of a book. Having a 3D mammogram feels about the same as having a 2D mammogram.
Both procedures expose the patient to a similar amount of radiation—about equivalent to 2 months of the normal “background” radiation that most people are exposed to in regular life.
3D mammograms and breast density
While 2D and 3D mammograms are both effective at detecting breast cancers early, a 3D mammogram is especially beneficial for women with dense breast tissue, which can make any abnormality more difficult to spot. You may be more likely to have dense breasts if you are younger, have a low BMI (body mass index), or are taking post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy. Only a mammogram can determine whether a woman has dense breasts.
Partnering with Woman’s Hospital, WFH makes getting a mammogram easy and effective
When breast cancer is detected early, it’s much easier to treat. West Feliciana Hospital partners with Woman’s Hospital of Baton Rouge to offer 2D and 3D yearly wellness mammograms in St. Francisville. A Woman’s Hospital technician located in West Feliciana Hospital performs your screening; the scans are then sent to radiologists located at Woman’s Hospital. These results are “double read” (this means two experts interpret the scan) before the results are sent back to your physician.
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 3.8 million breast cancer survivors are living here in the United States today. So why put off a breast cancer screening or drive to Baton Rouge when you can protect your well-being by scheduling a 2D or 3D mammogram, right here in town?
Call (225) 635-2443 to schedule your screening appointment.
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