A mammogram is a tool used to visualize the breast. They are used for patients suspected of having breast nodules or to look for early signs of breast cancer. Mammograms may be used as a screening or diagnostic tool. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2018) having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. At this time, a mammogram is the best way to find breast cancer for most women. When an individual is screened for breast cancer their provider will analyze their risk factors. Family history of cancer, personal history of breast cancer, BRCA gene mutation, exposure to radiation, age, lifestyle habits that may contribute to a cancer diagnosis. According to Faguy (2020), the American Cancer Society recommends women who are at average risk for breast cancer to abide by the following guidelines: Women age 40 to 44 years have the option to begin annual screening mammography. Women age 45 to 54 years will have annual screening mammography. Women age 55 years and older will continue annual screening mammography or switch to biennial screenings. An individual is to continue screening as long as they are in good general health and expected to live 10 years or longer. A woman will no longer need a mammogram when life expectancy is less than 5 to 7 years based on age or comorbidities. According to Larson, Cowher, Oâ€Rourke, Patel, and Pratt (2016), if and when a clinically palpable breast mass is identified, current guidelines recommend a diagnostic mammogram for a work-up. This may be an instance where a woman will get a mammogram early than expected to rule out breast cancer.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Breast Cancer. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/shingles/about/index.html
Faguy, K. (2020). Challenges of the underserved and underscreened in mammography. Radiologic Technology, 91(3), 267Mâ€“283M.
Larson, K. E., Cowher, M. S., Oâ€Rourke, C., Patel, M., & Pratt, D. (2016). Do primary care physicians perform clinical breast exams prior to ordering a mammogram? Breast Journal, 22(2), 189â€“193. https://doi.org/10.1111/tbj.12546
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