A mammogram is a diagnostic imaging test used to view the interior tissue of the breasts for signs of cancer. While women are advised to check their own breasts for lumps regularly, mammograms reveal abnormal cells even when lumps cannot be felt. Women are recommended to have annual mammogram screenings from the age of 45, unless a personal or family history of breast cancer necessitates an early start. In addition to revealing cancer before lumps can be felt, mammograms are also used to diagnose the size and spread of abnormal cells when a lump is discovered during a manual exam.
The most common signal of breast cancer is a lump of hard tissue in the breast. In addition to lumps, other breast cancer symptoms include breast pain, nipple discharge, a thickening of the skin, or a change in the size or shape of the breast. While women are advised to manually check their own breasts each month, usually at the end of her period, it is important to note that like most cancers and medical conditions, breast cancer does not present symptoms in its early stages, so having routine mammograms is essential to protecting a woman’s health.
Mammograms are the most effective tests for breast cancer available today. Since breast cancer, like most other cancers and medical conditions, doesn’t cause obvious symptoms in its early and more treatable stages, mammograms are necessary to detect cancerous developments as early as possible. Breast cancer can be more easily treated in the early stages of the disease, so it is imperative to have regular screenings to protect your health, especially if you have a family history of the disease. In addition to having regular mammograms, women should perform monthly manual breast exams at home. Your gynecologist will also manually examine your breasts at your annual well-woman visit.
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