Despite the campaigns and the great dissemination on the subject every year, there are still many doubts and apprehension about breast cancer. Although it is a disease that requires intense treatment, talking about the subject can help clarify the myths and truths and make women safer by decreasing the fear associated with it. The good news is that one in three cases can be cured if it is discovered early on. Therefore, it is essential to talk about the subject with friends and family, as everyone can help.
This year we signal pink October talking about mammograms. Because screening is prevention.
A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. Doctors use a mammogram to look for early signs of breast cancer. Regular mammograms are the best tests doctors have to find breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before it can be felt.
Having a mammogram is uncomfortable for most women. Some women find it painful. A mammogram takes only a few moments, though, and the discomfort is over soon. What you feel depends on the skill of the technologist, the size of your breasts, and how much they need to be pressed. Your breasts may be more sensitive if you are about to get or have your period.
Tips for getting a mammogram:
- Try not to have your mammogram the week before you get your period or during your period. Your breasts may be tender or swollen then.
- On the day of your mammogram, don’t wear deodorant, perfume, or powder. These products can show up as white spots on the X-ray.
- Some women prefer to wear a top with a skirt or pants, instead of a dress. You will need to undress from your waist up for the mammogram.
If your mammogram is normal, continue to get mammograms according to recommended time intervals. Mammograms work best when they can be compared with previous ones. This allows the radiologist to compare them to look for changes in your breasts.
If your mammogram is abnormal, keep calm. An abnormal mammogram does not always mean that there is cancer. But you will need to have additional mammograms, tests, or exams before the doctor can tell for sure. You may also be referred to a breast specialist or a surgeon. It does not necessarily mean you have cancer or need surgery. These doctors are experts in diagnosing breast problems. Doctors will do follow-up tests to diagnose breast cancer or to find that there is no cancer.
Finally remember: according to the Ministry of Health, about 30% of breast cancer cases can be avoided with the adoption of healthy habits, such as practicing physical activity regularly, having a healthy diet, not being overweight, avoiding alcoholic beverages and breastfeeding.
It is noteworthy that breast cancer does not have only one cause. Age is one of the most important risk factors for the disease (four out of five cases occur after 50 years)