October is breast cancer awareness month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women. In the United States, about 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer in their lifetime. Since breast cancer is so frequent in women, it’s important to shed a light on the disease and how to get tested before it’s too late. Mammograms can be used to identify and eliminate breast cancer at an early stage before it spreads to other parts of the body. Luckily, most women can survive breast cancer when found early through a mammogram.
What Is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a disease in which cancer cells grow out of control in the breast tissue. There are different types of breast cancer, and the type of breast cancer is determined by which cells in the breast turn cancerous. The reason it’s so important to identify breast cancer in its earliest stages is because it can spread to other parts of the body through blood vessels and lymph vessels. When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body it is said to have metastasized. This can be very dangerous because cancer is more difficult to treat the further it has spread. By getting mammograms, you are preventing the chance of unidentified cancer spreading through your body.
Information On Mammograms
What Is A Mammogram?
A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast. Doctors use mammograms to look for early signs of breast cancer so it can be treated properly. Regular mammograms are recommended for women because they can allow doctors to find signs of breast cancer up to three years in advance. Also, mammograms use a very low level of x-rays—a form of radiation—so the risk of harm from the procedure is low. The reason mammograms are especially important is because they can discover the early stages of breast cancer in women with no signs or symptoms. When getting a mammogram, a technician places your breast between two plastic plates and presses them flat to get a picture. Although the procedure can be uncomfortable, it only takes about 20 minutes to get a mammogram.
What Happens If My Mammogram Is Abnormal?
Just because you have an abnormal mammogram it does not automatically mean that you have breast cancer. Fortunately, most abnormal findings on a mammogram are not breast cancer. However, you will need to have additional mammograms, tests, or exams before the doctor can give you a definitive answer. You may also be referred to a breast specialist or surgeon. These doctors are experts at diagnosing breast problems and their follow-up tests will be able to officially diagnose you.
Importance Of Talking To Your Doctor
Talking with your doctor about the importance of getting a mammogram is highly recommended as they can provide you with further information. It is especially important if your family has a history of breast or ovarian cancer—this is something you should always disclose to your doctor. Asking questions is always encouraged to fully understand the procedure and the severity behind developing breast cancer.
For women interested in getting a mammogram, you may want to ask:
- Should I start getting mammograms regularly, and if so, how often?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of getting mammograms before the age of 50?
- Are there any risk factors in my life that would increase the chances of getting breast cancer?
Family History With Breast And Ovarian Cancer
If you are a woman with a family health history of breast or ovarian cancer, you may be more susceptible to developing breast cancer yourself. That is why it’s essential to collect your family’s health history of breast, ovarian and any other cancers. Also, it’s extremely important to share any of this information collected with your doctor. When collecting your family health history:
- Include all family such as your parents, sisters, brothers, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.
- List any cancers that a relative may have had and at what age he or she was diagnosed. For relatives who have died, list age and cause of death.
- Keep in mind that breast and ovarian cancer risk doesn’t just come from your mother’s side of the family—your father’s relatives must be taken into account as well.
Taking Preventative Measures
Although it’s impossible to fully prevent cancer, there are a handful of habits that can help reduce the risk. For example, staying physically active and maintaining a healthy weight is one way to help prevent several types of cancer, including breast cancer. By simply staying active consistently, you can increase the chances of a longer, healthier life. Other means of promoting a healthy life and preventing cancer are limiting alcohol consumption and not smoking. Although neither has a direct correlation with getting breast cancer, drinking and smoking can limit the functionality of the immune system and can put you at higher risk.
Health Benefits For Your Employees
As a business owner, nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of your employees. However, finding the right health insurance plan for your company can be a challenging task. At Alltrust, we help provide the best employee benefits in the Tampa Bay region to ensure that employees are always covered no matter their medical needs. Not only does Alltrust Insurance make it easier and more efficient for employers and employees to shop and enroll in health insurance coverage, but it also provides additional opportunities for health and wellness programs and services. The success of your company is directly affected by the health of your employees. If you need guidance in creating and implementing a workplace wellness platform that increases employee productivity and lowers costs associated with healthcare expenses, please contact our team today.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. For further information, please consult a medical professional.