Breast cancer continues to be a serious health risk for women, and mammogram screening continues to be a front line diagnostic tool to detect breast cancer in the earliest stages. This powerful test is available through the care of William McIntosh, MD, and Lisa McIntosh, MD, at Women's Health Center of Clarksville in Clarksville, Tennessee. For more information, call or use the simple online scheduling tool to set up a one-on-one consultation.
A mammogram is a type of medical imaging that involves low-dose X-ray technology. This noninvasive test creates pictures of your breast tissue. Those images can show abnormalities that could indicate breast cancer.
More importantly, mammography can detect breast cancer as many as three years before a growth would be large enough to feel during a routine breast exam. That means an opportunity to begin treatment in the earliest stages when treatment is often most effective.
You should begin having annual mammograms at the age of 45, then shift to once every two years after the age of 55. Your doctor at Women’s Health Center of Clarksville can discuss the schedule that’s right for you, then refer you to the appropriate mammogram provider for your actual scan.
Some women report little to no discomfort during their mammograms. For others, however, the experience is uncomfortable. Fortunately, the entire process takes just a few moments, so the discomfort is brief in duration.
Women with large breasts may feel more discomfort during the mammogram. If you are having your period or about to start at the time of your mammogram, your breasts may be more tender than other points in the month.
You need to undress to the waist as the mammogram begins. You stand before the machine as one breast is placed onto a clear sheet of plastic. Another plastic plate presses down to flatten your breast, which helps the system gather better images of your breast tissue.
The same process is used to create a side image of your breast, then the process is repeated for the other breast. If the resulting imaging is clear, the process is complete. If not, additional images may need to be taken.
It takes time for the results of your mammogram to be reviewed and interpreted. Your Women's Health Center of Clarksville doctor lets you know the results as soon as possible, and advises you of your next steps.
If your results are normal, the imaging is added to your personal medical record. Those results can be used to track changes in your breast tissue during subsequent mammograms.
If abnormalities are detected, you may need additional screening. Your doctor explains what to expect and guides you through the process. Even if you require breast cancer treatment from an oncologist, the team at Women’s Health Center of Clarksville coordinates your care and continues services once treatment concludes. Call or schedule an appointment online today to get started.