Cancer Awareness Education: Breast Cancer and Mammograms

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Lizzy Gracemount
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Image Since next month is Breast Cancer Awareness month, I made time for my first ever mammogram. It's that time in my life to begin screening and early detection is important. I don't know exactly how I feel about the test itself, but it wasn't too bad. A little uncomfortable at times, but worth the invasion of personal space to ensure that I am here for my family in the future. With my past history of cancer, I always have concerns about any possibility of developing a different kind of cancer in the future. I have a new name for mammograms: "Boobie Squishagram" which seems more appropriate for the discomfort.

Here are some notes and links I have gathered over the last few days to prepare myself for this new screening test. Remember, early detection is vital to surviving breast cancer! Check out cancer.org for more information on breast cancer and early detection.

Statistics as of 2022:

- Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States.
- Skin cancer comes in almost a tie with Breast cancers.
- In 2022, stats show that:
○ About 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed.
○ About 51,400 new cases of ductal carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) will be diagnosed
○ About 43,250 women will die of breast cancer.

Notes about Breast Cancer and Early detection:

- Guidelines for women of average risk, women who have no personal history of breast cancer, a strong family history of breast cancer, or the genetic mutation known as BRCA, and has not had chest radiation therapy before age 30.
- Women between 40 and 44: It is optional to start screening during these years when you don't have any symptoms
- Women 45 to 54: should get mammograms once a year.
- Women 55 and older can switch from once a year to every other year. Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live at least ten more years.
All women: Should know what to expect when getting a mammogram, what the test can and can't do, and how it will work.

Notes about Mammograms:

- A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray that allows radiologists to look for changes in breast tissue
- Mammograms can and often do detect breast cancer early, even before a lump can be felt.
- There are different kinds of mammograms available depending on your doctor's guidance.
○ Diagnostic mammograms are performed on women or men who have had symptoms of breast cancer.
○ Screening mammograms are performed on women or men who have no symptoms of breast cancer. These are used to screen for any changes in the breast tissue.
- The purpose of a mammogram is to show any abnormal changes within the breast tissue. The main types that doctors screen for are calcifications, masses, asymmetries, and distortions.
- Mammograms are performed using a special machine that is designed just to scan the breast tissues. The radiologist adjusts your position on the machine, then "squishes" the breast in the machine to take the scan. This is done in a low-dose x-ray that allows the tissues to spread out and flatten so the tissues can be identified.

Check out Cancer.org to learn more about mammograms and breast cancer prevention.

Be ready for Relay Season 2022! We're going to help give more mammograms for early detection and prevention! Go Relay!!!!

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-ca ... asics.html
https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/about.html
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