WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Halfway through Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October 15 marks National Mammography Day. Health experts say that getting screened regularly with a mammogram is one of the most reliable ways for early detection of breast cancer, which now affects about one in every eight women in the U.S.
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast that searches for any changes that could signal breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, women between 40 and 44 should have the option to start screening with a mammogram on an annual basis. Women 45 to 54 years old are urged to get a mammogram every year, and women 55 and older can switch to mammograms every other year.
ACS recommends scheduling a mammogram about a week after one’s menstrual period, as breasts won’t be as tender or swollen. The procedure itself takes approximately 20 minutes. The breast is compressed between two plastic players for a few seconds while an x-ray is taken. It is then repositioned to take another view.
Following a mammogram, results should be received within ten days. If a medical provider finds something suspicious, patients will likely be contacted within a week to take a new picture or get other tests.
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