What is breast cancer screening?
A breast cancer screen is a medical service for checking a woman’s breast for signs and symptoms of cancer. Cancer can be treated if detected early and managed well. Today many women are more aware of the benefits of cancer screening than before. Healthcare givers play a significant role in helping women to attend cancer screening sessions. When cancer cells are detected early, women can receive the best medical intervention to prevent further disease from spreading.
You can talk to your doctor about the most appropriate cancer screening tests. The doctor can also advise on the frequency of cancer screening.
Breast cancer screening tests
Breast cancer screening can be done in a hospital or a doctor’s office. Hospitals and clinics specialize in breast cancer screening, treatment, and management. Talk to your healthcare provider to get the latest information about available options. Here are the common breast cancer screening tests:
A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray of the breast and the best way to detect cancer early. When cancer is detected early, it becomes easy to manage and control its spread. Women have regular mammograms to lower the risk of developing advanced stages of the diseases. A mammogram remains the first line of defense against cancer for most women.
- Breast MRI
MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. A breast MRI uses magnets and radio waves to take images of a woman’s breasts. Breast MRI is often used with a mammogram to screen all women of cancer screening age.
A biopsy is the only way to rule out the presence of cancerous cells in the breast. This is often done when MRI, mammogram, and physical examination show significant changes in the breast, indicating cancer. Usually, doctors prefer a needle biopsy to a surgical procedure. The doctor removes some breast tissue from the suspicious area.
Other cancer examination procedures
As cancer awareness becomes accepted in the community, more women continue to learn how to self-examine their breasts for abnormal changes. A nurse or doctor can perform a breast examination. Further, a woman can also regularly examine her breast to detect any odd color change, or lumps.
Breast examination self-awareness
Every woman must understand her breasts. It is essential to know the regular color and shape of one’s breast so you can detect any changes. This is known as breast self-examination.
Benefits of cancer screening
Early detection means finding the symptoms and diagnosing cancer before it can spread. Cancer screening for the breasts has associated benefits and risks. However, the benefits outweigh the risks.
Who qualifies for cancer screening?
A woman is considered to be at average risk if she has no personal history of breast cancer. Personal history means the woman has no family history of breast cancer.
- Women aged 40-44 can have a mammogram every year
- Women aged 45 to 54 can have a mammogram every year
- Women aged 55 and above can choose to have a mammogram yearly and continue with screening
Breast cancer is treatable if detected early. Women should examine their breasts for any changes and have a mammogram annually.