Screening mammograms are so important because 1 out of every 8 women is likely to develop breast cancer in her lifetime. These tests can often detect early breast cancer before signs and symptoms appear.
An annual mammogram is recommended by the American Cancer Society for all women over 40. You may be at higher risk if:
- You are age 50 or older.
- Your mother or sister(s) have had breast cancer.
- You have already had cancer in one breast.
- You have had a prior breast biopsy.
Mammography is useful because it can show breast tumors too small to be felt. However, about 10% of tumors are not visible on mammograms and can only be found by physical examination. That’s why an exam by a primary care provider is important before the mammogram.
Regular self breast examinations are encouraged between screening mammograms. Please discuss your risk factors with your doctor, especially if you have a previous history of breast cancer or a family history of the disease. If you see any change such as a lump, discharge, dimpling or anything unusual, contact your provider.
Sometimes after your initial mammogram, you'll get a call or letter asking you to return for additional special views or an ultrasound study. This should not be cause for concern because women are called back fairly often. It simply indicates an area on the film needs to be looked at more closely.
Mammogram results are filed by Gundersen for 10 years. The films may be compared with future mammograms to determine whether any significant changes can be seen.
Mammography is a department of Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center.