Breast cancer screening may be one of the most common women’s health procedures, but you may not know why OB/GYNs are apt to perform it on a regular basis.
Just because breast cancer screening is not a preventative procedure does not mean it’s not important. In fact, our Houston, Texas practice screens for breast cancer regularly because it’s one of your best defenses in detecting and fighting the disease.
So you best understand the screening procedures we carry out when you visit us as well as why we do them, we are here to explain our practice’s approach to breast cancer screening and mammograms.
What will I experience during breast cancer screening?
When you come for a Well-Woman Visit at our practice, you may receive a breast exam or mammogram.
We evaluate both your age and risk of breast cancer to determine if and/or how often we will perform these forms of breast cancer screenings. As with every procedure at our practice, we tailor it to the individual patient. We tend to follow the American Cancer Society’s recommendations, which advise women with average breast cancer risk receive annual screenings starting at the age of 45. If you are at a higher risk, we will adjust this schedule accordingly.
Read on to learn more about our specific breast cancer screening procedures.
Many experts and cancer organizations consider mammograms the best test for breast cancer. Mammograms, or x-rays of your breasts, are effective for both screening and in a diagnostic capacity. While you will have to have plates pressed against your breasts so we can get the best visual of your breast tissue, the potential discomfort of the procedure is short.
Clinical Breast Exam
We may also conduct what is known as a clinical breast exam. During this screening process we will examine your breasts manually for any abnormalities or warning signs of breast cancer. We also suggest you perform breast self-exams regularly and come into our practice if you have any concerns.
If we feel a lump or thickening in your breast during the clinical breast exam or if the mammogram detects something suspicious in your breast, we will likely recommend a breast biopsy so we can best determine what we discovered.
If your biopsy detects cancer, we will discuss your treatment options and be your partner every step of the way.
I’m not high risk — why get breast cancer screening?
There are two reasons women should get screened for breast cancer — detection and education. Simply put, the earlier breast cancer is detected, the more favorable your diagnosis. Also, arming you with the information and tools to know when there may be a problem allows you to visit us as early as possible.
If you are in a high risk group we will adjust when, and possibly how, we screen. Some risk factors include, but are not limited to:
- Family history/ genetics
- Personal history/ reproductive history
- Breast density
- Lifestyle factors such as inactivity