Breast cancer signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer do not typically appear when a tumor is small. For this reason, annual screening is crucial for early detection. The presence of a painless lump is the most common physical sign of breast cancer. The problem is, by the time a lump can be felt, the breast cancer may be advanced. When breast cancer reaches the invasive stages, growth can be rapid. A mammogram can show a mass before you can even feel it. This is why annual mammograms are so important.
Other signs and symptoms of breast cancer:
- Breast pain or heaviness.
- Changes, such as swelling, thickening, or redness of the skin.
- Nipple abnormalities, such as spontaneous discharge (especially if bloody), erosion, or retraction.
- Patients who experience any persistent change in their breast(s) should immediately schedule an evaluation by their physician.
- 1 in 8 women develop invasive breast cancer.
- 1 in 1,000 men develop breast cancer.
- 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer are estimated to be diagnosed in women this year.
- 63,960 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer are estimated to be diagnosed in women this year.
- 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in the U.S. this year.
- 40,920 women are expected to die in 2018 from breast cancer.
- Due to increased awareness, earlier detection, and advances in treatment, death rates have declined since 1989.
Second only to skin cancer, breast cancer is…
- The most common cancer in women.
- The leading cause of cancer deaths in Hispanic women.
- The second most common cause of death from cancer in women of white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native origin.
Mammogram Screenings in Fredericksburg and Stafford
Celebrating over two decades of early detection, Medical Imaging of Fredericksburg is proud to offer mammograms to the Fredericksburg, North Stafford, and Spotsylvania areas with the highest quality service, the greatest value, and the most conveniently accessible locations.
Mammography is the breast imaging used for the early detection of cancer. With modern advances in technology, annual mammograms are the #1 tool in the fight against breast cancer. As the leading cause of cancer in women in the U.S., breast cancer has become a serious threat to women’s health. There are several risk factors for breast cancer, but with increased awareness and early detection through annual breast screening, the breast cancer survival rates continue to grow.
The #1 reason why your annual screening mammogram can save your life.
Annual mammograms were not always standard practice. Before regular screening mammography was a standard, cancers often went undetected until they were 2.5-3.5cm. Now, the average mass is under 1.5cm. What does that mean for you?
According to Dr. Roni Talukdar, Medical Director at the Imaging Center for Women, “Size matters. If you detect it at under 1.5cm, there’s a 98%-99% survival rate. But when it’s over 1.5cm the survival rate drops to 70%.”
Why is it important to get a mammogram every year? The survival rate of breast cancer directly correlates with the size of cancer – the smaller the tumor, the greater the chance of survival. Finding cancer earlier can ultimately mean the difference between life and death.
“Plus, 50% of breast cancer occurs in someone with no family history of breast cancer,” Dr. Talukdar said. That means that women without a family history of breast cancer are still at risk. Dr. Talukdar tells his patients, “It’s a 15-minute procedure, once a year, that could save your life. Why take that chance? It’s a small price to pay for your life.”
Mammograms are available at the following locations.
Frequently asked questions about Mammograms
I scheduled a mammogram. What should I expect?
After removing clothing from the waist up, you will stand in front of the mammography machine. The breast will then be positioned on a clear plastic plate for X-rays of the top and bottom, as well as the sides. While the plates flatten the breast in the optimal position for the X-ray, you will feel pressure. These steps will be repeated for both breasts. The entire process will be complete in about 15 minutes, unless the x-rays need to be redone.
Do mammograms hurt?
The question is often asked, “Do mammograms hurt?” The truth is, having a mammogram can be uncomfortable, but doctors recommend that the benefit outweighs the discomfort. Yearly mammograms provide peace of mind with a higher survival rate.
How long do Mammograms take?
Don’t worry! Within a few short moments, the mammogram will be over. The size of the breasts and how much compression they require are both factors in how a mammogram feels.
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray of the breasts. Mammograms can detect breast cancer up to three years before a tumor can be felt during a breast exam. Without a cure for breast cancer, early detection is the very best defense.
When can I expect my mammogram results?
At Medical Imaging of Fredericksburg, our Board Certified, Fellowship Trained radiologists will review your results with you directly after your mammogram. Your results will also be emailed to you and your physician the very same day.
What should I do if my mammogram result is abnormal?
If you receive an abnormal result, it does not mean cancer was found. Your next step would be a diagnostic mammogram and further testing.
What should I do if my mammogram results are normal?
A normal result is a baseline. If you have a normal result, it is recommended that you continue to receive annual mammograms so that your baseline can be used as a comparison. Changes in your breasts are detected and monitored by your radiologist year to year.
What should I do if my mammogram result is abnormal?
Top 3 tips for your mammogram appointment:
1. If possible, do not schedule a mammogram the week prior to or during your period. Breasts can be tender or swollen during that time in the menstrual cycle.
2. Do not apply deodorant, perfume, or powder on the day of your mammogram. Such products can appear as spots on the X-ray.
3. Wear two-piece garments such as a top and pants or a skirt, rather than a dress. This will make it easier to undress from the waist up for the mammogram.
Mammogram Screening Guidelines
When Should You Start Getting Annual Mammograms?
If you are an average risk patient, you should start getting annual mammograms at age 40. If you have a family history, annual screening is recommended 10 years before your first-degree relative had breast cancer. For example, if your mom had breast cancer at age 40, you should start your preventative screening at age 30.
What is the recommended mammogram age?
Mammogram age, or the age at which you should begin getting regular mammograms, differs from patient to patient. Your doctor will determine when you should schedule your first mammogram based on your age, risk factors, and personal history.
Considering the risk factors for breast cancer.
Studies have shown that there are many risk factors for breast cancer. You may have multiple risk factors. The most common factors include age and being female. But just because you have risk factors, does not mean you will develop breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about how you can lower your breast cancer risk factors. And if you are age 40 and older, it’s time to schedule annual screenings.
According to the CDC, risk factors include:
- Age. The most common age for breast cancer diagnosis is 50+ years. The risk increases with age, in general.
- Personal history of breast cancer. Patients who have had breast cancer in the past are more likely to have breast cancer a second time.
- Personal history of benign breast disease. Patients who have had non-cancerous breast diseases such as atypical hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ have a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Family history of breast cancer. The risk for breast cancer is higher if a first-degree relative or multiple family members have had breast cancer.
- Genetic predisposition. Women with inherited mutations to certain genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, are at greater risk for breast and ovarian cancers.
- Early menstrual period. Due to lengthened exposure to hormones, the risk for breast cancer is increased slightly in women whose menstrual cycle began before the age of 12.
- Late onset of menopause. after age 55. Also due to lengthened exposure to estrogen hormones, starting menopause after age 55 is a risk factor.
- Late or no pregnancy. Women who have their first pregnancy after age 30 or who never have a full-term pregnancy are at greater risk than those who have a pregnancy at a younger age.
- Inactivity. A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of getting breast cancer.
Postmenopausal obesity. Those who are older and overweight are more likely to get breast cancer.
- Combination hormone therapy. When taken together, for more than five years, estrogen and progestin therapy increases a patient’s risk.
- Oral contraceptives. Studies have shown that certain forms of birth control raise breast cancer risk.
Diethylstilbestrol (DES). From 1940 to 1971 this drug was given to pregnant women as a prevention for miscarriage. Both the women who took the drug and those whose mothers took DES while they were in utero are at risk.
- Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy to the chest or breasts, such as treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, before age 30, are at increased risk of developing breast cancer later in life.
- Alcohol consumption. Studies have shown that drinking alcohol increases the risk for breast cancer.
- Smoking and exposure to chemicals. Research suggests that smoking and/or consistent exposure to chemicals increases the risk of breast cancer.
- Night shift. Patients who work the night shift as well as flight attendants who cross multiple time zones and have frequent circadian rhythm disruptions, are at increased risk for developing breast cancer.
- Breast density. With more glandular and connective tissue relative to fatty tissue, those who have greater breast density have a higher risk of breast cancer.
Breast cancer statistics in the U.S.
Breast Cancer Statistics are staggering in the United States. Awareness continues to be spread, especially during the month of October which is known as “Breast Cancer Awareness Month”, but a cure has yet to be found. However, with early detection, the number of new cases has decreased and the survival rate has increased. When it comes to the fight against breast cancer, early detection is the first line of defense.
Mammograms in Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Spotsylvania
At Medical Imaging of Fredericksburg, we seek to serve our patients with the expertise of our Board Certified, Fellowship Trained Radiologists, using the very best technology, in easily accessible locations, at the greatest value in the region.
When searching “mammograms near me”, you’ll find that Medical Imaging of Fredericksburg has a total of four convenient locations located throughout the Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Spotsylvania areas. You can save time by scheduling your mammogram at a location near your commute or close to home.
“I will not go anywhere other than MIF for my imaging needs. It turned out to be a pleasant experience despite the circumstances that brought me to the office.” -MIF patient
Imaging centers just for women.
In order to provide the very best experience for women during their annual screening appointments, we have designed and opened an Imaging Center for Women in two locations: Fredericksburg and North Stafford. These state-of-the-art facilities provide a private, welcoming atmosphere where our staff is professional, compassionate, and attentive. With complimentary snacks and beverages, warm blankets, comfortable chairs, and enjoyable TV shows, you’ll find many of the comforts of home. We look forward to making your mammogram screening appointment a pleasant one.
3D Mammogram: Information is Power
The positioning for a 3D mammogram is the same as a 2D mammogram. But instead of taking a single picture, the unit moves in an arc around the breast and takes multiple snapshots. Then, computer software takes all of those snapshots and combines them for a more complete picture. “It uses the same amount of radiation, in the same amount of time, but with much greater detail and information,” according to Dr. Talukdar of Medical Imaging of Fredericksburg.
“When you take a traditional mammogram, you are taking a picture of a 3D object and producing a 2D representation,” Dr. Talukdar said. “As a result, you have structures that sit on top of each other and mimic a mass.” With 3D, the doctor can go in and view each “slice” of the breast to determine if it is actually a mass. “Ultimately it means that our ability to pick up small cancers is improved, and we have less false positives,” explained Dr. Talukdar.
Are 3D mammograms worth it?
Medical Imaging of Fredericksburg is proud to provide the community with the latest technology and the highest level of patient care at the lowest mammogram cost in the region.
While experts like Dr. Talukdar have made great strides in getting insurance companies to cover 3D mammogram costs, some may still have to pay the difference between a 2D and 3D mammogram. So is it worth it?
“The data shows that regardless of your age or breast density, all things being equal, 3D is better than 2D.” Not only that, but the doctors and staff at Medical Imaging of Fredericksburg use this technology themselves. “It’s something we believe in and we use ourselves.”
Ultimately, 3D mammography is the next step in improving patient care. According to Dr. Talukdar, “3D is a tool. It’s the next step in our ability to detect these cancers when they’re smaller. It’s the future of breast imaging.”