(BlackDoctor.org) — Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women. Because not all lumps necessarily mean cancer, and not all cancers can be detected by touch/physical examination, until it becomes large enough, a mammogram is the best way to detect cancer early.
Although it is not 100% accurate, the mammogram can:
• Detect lesions in their very early stage
• Detect lesions that are not palpable
• Detect lesions before they are palpable
• Give important information about the “lump” or change you or your doctor feels
Regular mammograms may therefore give you a better chance of picking up early breast cancer than the occasional mammogram.
So what myths/questions are stopping you from making your appointment?
It’s Too Painful
You will feel some pressure as the mammogram is performed, but any discomfort will only last a few seconds. Because breasts are more sensitive just before your menstrual period, you should try to schedule your mammogram seven to 10 days after the start of your period.
I Can’t Afford It
Routine mammograms in women over age 40 are considered preventive care and are covered by most insurance companies. If you have Medicare, Medicare will help pay for a mammogram once a year. There are also state and federal programs to help women pay for a mammogram every year. You can call the American Cancer Society toll-free, 800-227-2345, for more information.
I’m Not At Risk For Breast Cancer
“If you’re a woman, you’re at risk for breast cancer,” says Dr. Gregory. “Almost 70 percent of women with breast cancer have no known risk factors.”
I Don’t Feel A Lump Or Have Any Symptoms
The reality is, screening mammograms are for women with NO lumps or other symptoms. The best time to find cancer is before you can feel it.
A mammogram can detect cancer as much as a year or two before you or your physician could feel it. Breast cancer found in its earliest stages offers the greatest chance of remission and survival.
I Don’t Know Where To Go