October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and while most everyone is aware of breast cancer, it’s easy to forget to take the steps to help detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same. A lot of progress has been made in the fight against breast cancer, but there’s a long way to go. One thing we know for sure is that early detection is key. Be aware that thermography is not early detection and is not better than mammography. Thermography is an old technology that has been abandoned by all hospitals, insurance companies, and The American College of Radiology.
Why You Need an Early Detection Plan
- One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
- When breast cancer is detected early (localized stage), the 5-year survival rate is 98%.
Have an Early Detection Plan
The following are steps you can take to help in an early detection plan:
- Clinical Breast Exam
- Breast Self-Exam
- Create Your Early Detection Plan Here
- Detecting the disease in its early stages is critical. You can create your Early Detection Plan here to receive reminders to do breast self-exams and schedule your clinical breast exams and mammograms based on your age and healthy history.
Perform Self-Checks Each Month
In between your routine mammograms, it’s important to maintain self-checks each month. Women can do this in the shower, in front of a mirror or lying down, whatever is most comfortable. If you have questions about breast health, routine self-exams or mammograms, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Tips for a Successful Mammogram
- Bring your past mammogram results with you, if you have them.
- Discuss your family history of breast and other cancers – maternal and paternal – with your doctor.
- Ask if your center has CAD – computer-aided detection – which is a tool that assists the radiologist in finding any areas of concern that need further attention.
- If you’ve been referred for a mammogram because of a suspicious lump or finding on another test, get a detailed note from your doctor including the reason the the mammogram has been ordered.
- Work with your doctor to compare your mammogram results with any other tests you have have had done, such as ultrasound or MRI.
- On the day of the exam, avoid wearing a dress since you’ll need to remove your top for the test.
- Don’t wear deodorant or antiperspirant, since these can show up on the film and interfere with the test results.
- Schedule your mammogram to avoid the time when your breasts are swollen or tender, such as right before your period. If you are taking hormones, stopping the hormones for 3-5 days may decrease tenderness and increase detection.
Schedule Your Annual Exam Today
Don’t delay your annual exam – call the Woodlands OBGYN Associates today at 282.364.9898 to make your appointment. For established patients, you have the added convenience of requesting an appointment online by using our patient portal.
-Raj Syal MD, FACOG