Mammograms: What you need to know (sponsored) |

Mammograms: What you need to know (sponsored)

SNMH staff
Special to The Union
Nurse With Patient About To Have A Mammogram
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto

For women, it’s a rite of passage. But unfortunately, it’s not typically one that we look forward to: the annual mammogram.

It’s a task that many women dread. But if you are over the age of 40 or at high risk for breast cancer, it’s an appointment that should be a top priority.

Most physicians recommend that a woman have a mammogram every year after the age of 40. If you have a family history of breast cancer or other risk factors, your physician may recommend a mammogram earlier.

The American Cancer Society estimates that one in nine women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. While the exact cause of breast cancer has not been found, we do know that it is treatable and can often be cured when detected early. The best tools for early detection? Breast self-exams, physician exams and mammograms.

Understanding what a mammogram is can make it less intimidating. A mammogram is an X-ray examination which uses extremely low doses of radiation to get accurate images of the breasts.

Mammography is the best way to detect small cancers even before they can be felt.

During the exam, a female mammogram technician will help to position your breasts in a way that maximizes the images created while minimizing discomfort. Each breast will be compressed for a few seconds while the X-rays are taken.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, take control of your breast health by scheduling your annual mammogram.

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