How Often Should I Have a Mammogram?

Breast and cancer are two words you never want to hear your doctor say, but sometimes this disease comes out of nowhere. There are steps you can take to reduce your risk and detect breast cancer early, including getting regular mammograms.

Dr. John Paul Roberts is our experienced OB/GYN who helps you take the necessary steps to protect your health. Our team provides information on self breast exams and mammograms to give you your best shot at detecting breast cancer early.

All about mammograms

A mammogram is a type of diagnostic imaging study that detects signs of breast cancer years before a lump or tumor is present. This test uses X-ray imaging of your breasts to visualize the breast tissue and look for any concerning changes. 

A mammogram is performed using a specialized machine equipped with plates that compress the breast to produce detailed images of breast tissue. Each breast is placed one at a time in the specialized plates. You hold your breath while the machine is taking the images.

Between each image, you can resume regular breathing. The technician repositions you and your breast to ensure that the entire breast is captured in the imaging. The process is repeated for the other breast.

A mammogram is usually slightly uncomfortable because of the pressure produced by the machine to flatten out your breast tissue, but the discomfort goes away when the test is completed.

There isn’t really anything you can do to prepare for a mammogram, but there are some guidelines to follow that Dr. Roberts goes over with you before the test. The most important thing to remember is that mammograms can save your life, so having them on a regular basis is the key to detecting breast cancer.

When do you need a mammogram?

There are specific guidelines about when you should start getting mammograms and how often you need to get them.

The American Cancer Society recommends getting your first mammogram around the age of 40, as long as you’re at average risk for developing breast cancer. The rest of the guidelines are as follows:

Of course, these are only guidelines. If you’re doing self breast exams and find something abnormal, check with Dr. Roberts to see if you need a mammogram or ultrasound to check your breast tissue. 

A mammogram may be recommended sooner if your risk is higher than average. The criteria that make you high risk for breast cancer are as follows:

If you’re at higher risk for breast cancer, he may also suggest a breast MRI to look for small changes within your breast tissue.

If any of these criteria apply to you, make sure to let us know so we can schedule your mammogram accordingly. 

If you’re in need of a mammogram, contact our office in Plano, Texas, to make an appointment. Just call us or use our online booking tool.

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