Although chocolates and flowers are traditionally associated with Valentine’s Day, it is also a perfect time to show yourself some love by scheduling your breast cancer screening.
Mammograms are essential to catching cancer early, at its most treatable stages, leading to improved outcomes and saved lives.
Here are five reasons to get a mammogram:
- Mammograms save lives. Getting mammograms as recommended is the single most important action that a woman can take to reduce the chance of dying of breast cancer. Mammograms can lead to better outcomes by detecting cancer at earlier stages, even before a woman can feel a lump.
- The risk of breast cancer increases with age. MD Anderson at Cooper advises all women at average risk to have a mammogram performed once a year beginning at age 40. Every woman is at risk for breast cancer, and this risk tends to increase as women age. Women should talk to their doctors about their personal breast cancer risk.
- Regular mammograms give radiologists a basis for comparison. Regular scans can help your radiologist to identify subtle changes in breast tissue patterns and improve cancer detection.
- Mammograms can identify dense breasts. Women who have dense breasts but no other risk factors are considered to have a higher than average risk of breast cancer. Dense breast tissue makes it more difficult to interpret a mammogram. For women with dense breast tissue, 3D mammograms provide a clearer picture of the tissue and allow for more detailed analysis.
- Be a role model. Getting a mammogram sets a good example for the other important women in your life—your mother, your daughter, your friends.
Schedule your mammogram today. Do it for yourself, for those you love, and for those who love you!
Allison F. Gittens, MD is the Section Head of the Division of Breast Imaging with MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper, and a Assistant Professor of Radiology with Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.