Mammograms save lives

They help find cancer when it is small, allowing more treatment options and a better chance of recovery.

It is estimated that 1 in 8 BC women will get breast cancer in their lifetime. 

Mammograms are safe and effective

Screening mammograms are considered the international gold standard for detecting breast cancer early. Mammograms can usually find lumps 2 or 3 years before a woman or her primary care provider can feel them. Research has shown a 25 per cent reduction in deaths from breast cancer among women who regularly screen. 

What is a Mammogram?

Mammograms are x-rays of the breasts completed in privacy by a specially-trained female technologist. 

A screening mammogram consists of four images (two of each breast) that look for hidden cancer in women who are healthy (no symptoms) and have never had breast cancer. 

Those experiencing symptoms including a lump or nipple discharge should see their doctor immediately to determine if other testing is required.

Who Should Get a Mammogram?

Screening mammograms are available for BC women 40 years and older. A doctor referral is not required.

If you are age 40 to 74 with a first-degree relative (mother, daughter, sister) with breast cancer:

It is recommended that you get a mammogram every year.

Women with a family history of breast cancer are almost two times more likely to develop breast cancer. A doctor’s referral is not needed.

If you are age 40 to 49 without a family history of breast cancer:

You are encouraged to talk to your doctor about the benefits and limitations of mammography.

If screening mammography is chosen, it is available every two years. A doctor’s referral is not needed but is recommended.

If you are age 50 to 74 without a family history of breast cancer:

‎It is recommended that you get a mammogram every two years.

For women in this age group, the benefits of screening mammograms clearly outweigh the limitations. Book your appointment today. A doctor’s referral is not needed.

If you are age 75+:

You are encouraged to talk to your doctor about the benefits and limitations of mammography.

If screening mammography is chosen, it is available every two to three years. A doctor’s referral is not needed but is recommended.

If you are younger than age 40:

Screening mammograms are not recommended unless you have a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, prior chest wall radiation or strong family history of breast cancer. A doctor’s referral is needed for every screen.

Women are not eligible for a screening mammogram if they:
Have breast implants (see your doctor to arrange a mammogram).
Are pregnant or breastfeeding (you can use the breast screening program three months after completely finishing breastfeeding; see your doctor immediately if you experience any new problems).
Have a previous history of breast cancer.
Have any new breast complaints such as a lump or nipple discharge (see your doctor immediately if you experience any new problems).
Have had a mammogram on both breasts in the last 12 months (you must wait at least one year before having another screening mammogram).

What to Expect

Mammograms are x-rays of the breasts that are done in complete privacy by a specially-trained female technologist.

Benefits
Mammograms save lives

Finding cancer early means that it is less likely to have spread and treatment can be started earlier in the course of the disease.

Approximately one in eight Canadian women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime and one in 28 women is expected to die from the disease.

Mammograms are effective

Screening mammograms are the best method for detecting breast cancer early. Mammograms can usually find lumps two or three years before a woman or her doctor can feel them.

Research has shown a 25 per cent reduction in deaths from breast cancer among women who are screened regularly.

Your breast cancer risk increases with age

While women with a family history of breast cancer have a higher than average risk, the most significant risk factor for breast cancer is being a woman over 50 years of age.

Author's Bio: 

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