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There are many reasons why getting a mammogram is important. For one, it can help catch breast cancer early, when it is most treatable. Additionally, mammograms can help alert your doctor to changes in your breast tissue that may be benign (non-cancerous) or indicative of a more serious problem.
“A mammogram, to this day after decades of being done, has been proven to be the best screening tool for cancer or abnormalities,” said Natalie Khuu with Gynecology and Fertility PC. “And obviously, breast cancer is one of the number one causes of cancer in women. So it’s very important.”
But beyond the potential medical benefits, getting a mammogram can also be empowering. It can help you take control of your breast health and feel proactive about your health in general. Additionally, the process of getting a mammogram can help you build a relationship with your doctor and health care team.
If you are 40 years of age or older, or if you have a family history of breast cancer, it is recommended that you get a mammogram every year.
“Usually when you go in to see us or your primary care, we’re usually assessing the risk based off of your family history or if you possibly have had imaging done before, and have had an abnormality that can sometimes put you at increased risk,” Khuu said.
Doctors and health care professionals also have other tools such as sonograms and MRIs to help detect cancer in situations where breast density comes into play.
“If you come up with dense breasts -- there’s different densities -- if you come up with density D, which is the higher density, you can do an MRI and mammogram which we usually do alternating every six months, or there is an ultrasound as well,” Khuu said.
But even if you don’t fall into one of those categories, talk to your doctor about whether a mammogram is right for you.