When Do I Actually Need A Mammogram?

As you might already know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – this is a time to spread awareness for this cancer that takes the lives of nearly 43,000 Americans every year. We can show support for these individuals, their families, and those currently fighting for their lives by spreading information about prevention and by supporting causes that aid in breast cancer research.

Today, we’ll be taking a look at a commonly debated topic in the breast cancer scene: when to get a mammogram and the proper “mammogram age” for those who want to detect any issues early. We’ll also briefly cover “what does a mammogram feel like?” for those who might be apprehensive about their first image.

What Is A Mammogram, And Why Are They Important?

A mammogram is an imaging procedure that uses small doses of radiation to take a detailed picture of a patient’s breast tissue. Mammograms are incredibly useful in detecting early-stage breast cancer and other masses. The discomfort of a mammogram is, therefore, a small price to pay for potentially life-saving images.

What Does A Mammogram Feel Like?

Many people find mammograms to be extremely uncomfortable; after all, in order to get a clear picture, your breast tissue will need to be flattened as much as possible. 

Your doctor will likely recommend that you take painkillers prior to your appointment to help mitigate any pain during and after your procedure. You will likely be sore after your mammogram. Sometimes, your radiology technician will need to take multiple images from different angles of your breasts; this can make the mammogram procedure longer.

Why Are There So Many Opinions About When To Get A Mammogram?

As we mentioned above, mammograms use small amounts of radiation to take the images that they do. Due to the type of tissue in the breast, this is currently the best technological option to get clear images.

However, as you might have guessed, some specialists are a bit wary about exposing potentially healthy individuals to unnecessary radiation. This small risk is usually considered a worthy one by other health professionals. This is the main source of confusion when it comes to answering the question “when should I get a mammogram?”

So When Should I Get A Mammogram?

The current recommendation is that women should get their first mammogram (along with other cancer screenings) between the ages of 40 and 55. Women with a family history of cancer – especially breast cancer – will be recommended to have their first mammogram around the age of 40, maybe even sooner, depending on the type of cancer that runs in their families.

Does breast cancer run in your family? Make sure you schedule your mammogram to get ahead of and protect your future. The breast cancer fight is much simpler when a mass is caught early!