One of the best ways to stay on top of your breast health is to get your regular examinations. While the frequency in which you get screened depends on your age, talk with your doctor about how often you should be getting checked out. While you go to your screening and get your results, you may wonder who interprets your breast exam results. Below you will find more information about your breast exam results and how often you should get them.
Types of Mammograms
Before you get a mammogram, it’s important to determine which kind you are getting. We refer to the initial mammogram as a screening mammogram. This initial mammogram focuses on detecting any abnormalities. A diagnostic mammogram is what comes after a screening mammogram and is used to determine whether the abnormalities in the first screening were cancerous or non-cancerous. Breast cancer screening in Houston is highly important and can help detect abnormalities that require additional testing.
Breast Exam Interpretation
Like many medical exams, reviewing your mammogram is a skillset that radiologists are trained to do. When analyzing your exam, they look for irregular areas of increased density, skin thickening, clusters of small calcifications, and asymmetry in your breasts. The presence of these does not indicate cancer, and the absence does not indicate that you do not have cancer. This may be confusing to someone who is not a medical professional, but a mammogram is often the first exam in a series of exams to determine whether or not you have cancer. This is because cancerous and non-cancerous growths can look the same in an initial mammogram.
Fast results are important as the fear and anxiety that can come with mammograms can be overwhelming. You may have the option of getting results right away with your radiologist, but you may also get them later on. One of the major benefits of getting your results immediately is that you can get additional testing immediately if there is anything suspicious found in the initial mammogram. The additional testing may include a close-up mammogram or an ultrasound. Getting your results as soon as possible is helpful as early detection of any medical issue is a major indicator of a good outcome.
Technology Used for Detection and Diagnosis
Your radiologist is not just eyeballing the results. They also have computer-aided technology that helps with detection and diagnosis. Computer-aided detection (“CAD”) can help the radiologist find any suspicious issues on your mammogram. In 1998, this technology was approved by the FDA and it is highly effective. Nearly 83% of all screening mammograms are digital and utilize CAD. According to the American Society, some research has shown that CAD has helped detect cancers that would not have otherwise been seen. If CAD ends up not used, a second radiologist often reviews results to ensure the most effective results.
Breast Exams and Your Age
You may wonder at what age and how often you should be getting breast exams. After all, it can differ, depending on your unique circumstances. Most often women start getting mammograms between the ages of 40 and 44. However, once you turn 45 you should be getting annual exams every year from the age of 45 to 54. After 55, you can talk with your doctor to see if you can reduce your frequency to every other year. However, if you have a family history of breast cancer it’s important to talk with your doctor to see if you should take any additional steps.
3D Mammography in Houston
If you are concerned about your breast health and would like to get a screening, contact Pink Door Imaging. Dr. Mahesh Shetty has decades of experience in women’s health, including 3D mammography in Houston. Pink Door Imaging offers an integrated approach to women’s health and they are mindful of patient anxiety and fears. Their goal is to educate, relieve any patient anxiety, and guide patient’s in making the best decision for them no matter what their health issue is. Contact Pink Door Imaging Clinic today for an appointment!