You love celebrating milestones and holidays with the remarkable women in your life. But, finding the perfect gift year after year and event after event can be daunting – even when it’s your mom, your sister, or your best friend.
Why not add the life-saving gift of mammograms to your list?
One-in-eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone. Of these women, 88% have no family history of the disease. That’s why doctors agree on the importance of routine screenings.
At HALO Diagnostics, it’s easy to show those you love just how much you care. We offer same-day mammograms with walk-in availability, making it possible to fit preventive care into your (and your loved ones’) busy schedule.
Before you schedule an appointment (or drop on by), let’s answer some common questions about breast screenings.
What Are Breast Screenings?
You probably know someone who’s battled breast cancer. Maybe it even runs in your family.
Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer in American women and the second leading cause of death among U.S. women.1
Our radiologists use breast screenings, or tests and exams, to detect, diagnose, and stage breast cancer.
Types of Breast Screenings
There are several types of breast screenings. You might be familiar with the mammogram – but it’s not the only procedure. In some cases, it’s only the first step:
- Mammogram: A low-dose x-ray of the breast that can detect changes before physical symptoms such as lumps and bumps appear. 3D mammograms, the gold standard in breast screenings, capture x-ray images of the breast and convert them to 3D images.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Based on an assessment of your family history and other factors such as dense breasts, your doctor may recommend this advanced imaging procedure. MRI can find up to twice the number of cancers as traditional mammography.2
Breast screenings can’t prevent cancer, but they can detect it sooner. Since the 1980s, mammograms have reduced breast cancer deaths in women by more than 40%. Yet, breast cancer deaths among men — who are not commonly screened — have remained roughly the same.3, 4
Patients whose cancers are detected sooner have more treatment options and a higher chance at survival, with a nearly 100% 5-year survival rate.
Who Should Have Breast Screenings?
All women ages 40 and over need routine breast screenings.
You’ll also want to consider these questions: Do you have a family history of breast cancer? Have you noticed any changes to your breasts? If so, we suggest scheduling a mammogram today.
Still, you might ask yourself, “How soon and how often should I be screened?”
The American Cancer Society recommends the following:
- Women ages 40 to 44 should have the option to begin annual mammograms.
- Women ages 45 to 54 should get annual mammograms.
- Women ages 55 and up should continue routine screenings.5
What Happens at Breast Screenings?
Now, it’s time for your mammogram.
If you’re worried about any discomfort or how long it may take, you’re not alone. Thanks to advances in technology, today’s breast screenings are smooth and efficient. You’ll be in and out, with little disruption to your schedule (and that’s always a win!).
Here’s what you can generally expect: You’ll be guided to a private changing area and given a gown to wear for your screening. An x-ray technologist will then take you to a private room for your mammogram. Typically, only you and the technologist will be present. They’ll offer instructions at every step.
The technologist will place one of your breasts between two plastic plates. Next, you’ll position your head, arms, and torso as directed to allow clear views of each breast.
You might feel some light pressure from the plates, but any discomfort should only last a few moments. If you deal with increased breast tenderness during your menstrual cycle, we suggest scheduling a screening outside of this time.6, 7
When Can You Expect Results?
With this screening checked off your preventive care list (until next time!), it’s time to talk about your test results. You might wonder, “How soon will I get my results?”
The answer varies. You might see same-day results, or you may need to wait for your radiologist to review the images. Every practice is different. If you’re unsure about any part of this process, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
For example, your doctor might request additional imaging – but this isn’t always cause for alarm. Instead, one part of an image may be an area of interest for your doctor. Extra imaging allows them to gather more information and views of the breast.
Preventive care is a powerful way to show someone (or yourself!) how much you care. So, if you’re still stumped on the best gift for your friend or a loved one, consider a mammogram.
Want to go a step further? You could schedule your screening for the same day. (If you or your loved one is 40 and over, no order is required – drop in or call to schedule.)
That way, you’ll show your support for her health while taking care of your own. Now, that’s a real gift for both of you.
HALO Diagnostics offers these breast screenings and diagnostic tests which you can set up by scheduling an appointment online.
1Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. (2022). Breast cancer statistics. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/statistics/index.htm
2Narod, S.A. (2019). MRI versus mammography for breast cancer screening in women with familial risk (FaMRIsc). The Lancet: Oncology, 20(9). Published online September 2019. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(19)30489-9
3American College of Radiology. (2018). New study cements fact that mammography is a primary factor in reduced breast cancer deaths. Published online November 8, 2018.
4Tabar, L., Dean, P.B., Chen, T.H., et al. (2018). The incidence of fatal breast cancer measures the increased effectiveness of therapy in women participating in mammography screening. Cancer, 125(4), 515-523. Published online November 8, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1002/cncr.31840
5American Cancer Society. (2022). American Cancer Society guidelines for the early detection of cancer. Published online March 14, 2022.
6Mayo Clinic. (2022). 3D mammogram. Published online 2022.
7Know Your Girls. (2022). Mammogram FAQs: Here’s what to expect. Published online 2022.