Breast Screening: Benefits, Risks, and Role in Early Detection

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Recently, there has been a debate weighing the benefits against the risks of mammograms and their ability to detect breast cancer. The fact of the matter is that mammograms are our best tool used in the early detection of breast cancer today.

What Are the Benefits of Early Detection?

While mammograms don’t prevent breast cancer, they allow your doctor to diagnose you sooner. First and foremost, an ultrasound obstetrician in Daytona Beach can detect breast cancer early, before you're symptomatic, which increases the likelihood of you being able to keep your breast. With early detection, localized cancers can be removed without having to settle for a mastectomy. Additionally, catching breast cancer in its early stages increases your survival rate by reducing your risk of death to 25-30%. It's recommended that you start getting mammograms at age 40 as breast cancer is much more common in women aged 40 and over.

How Often Should You Get Screened?

It's recommended by both the American Cancer Society and the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force that you get a mammogram every 2 years. You're exposed to small amounts of radiation during the procedure, but the risks are very minimal. Getting screened every two years by an ultrasound OBGYN in Daytona Beach, Florida, rather than every year, reduces the radiation exposure while still providing the benefits of early detection and treatment.

What Are the Risks?

Mammograms, like other procedural means for diagnoses, are not yet perfect. There are risks of false positives and negatives that can impede your treatment progress"

  • False Positive: This occurs when the mammogram falsely identifies abnormal tissue as cancerous. This often leads to superfluous follow up exams and procedures that are ultimately unnecessary and can cause increased anxiety and stress
  • False Negative: Healthy breast tissue can obscure abnormal, cancerous tissue, which leads to a false negative. This prevents doctors from detecting and treating the cancer early.

If you have dense breasts, it's recommended that you ask for a digital mammogram. Doctors are able to closely examine all areas of your breast and more accurately identify cancerous areas.

Ultimately, a mammogram is currently the best method of early detection and helps to diagnose and treat you before you're showing signs of breast cancer. It increases your chances of survival.

 

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