Why are screening mammograms important?

Press release from Piedmont Walton

Diondra Atoyebi, D.O

Monroe, Ga. – (Oct. 26, 2020) – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual observance recognizing breast cancer, which, aside from skin cancer, is the most common type of cancer among women. Though U.S. deaths from breast cancer continue to decline, experts like family medicine physician Diondra Atoyebi, D.O., agree there’s still more we can do to increase early detection and survival rates.

“Mammograms can help save lives,” said Dr. Atoyebi, with Piedmont Physicians Monroe Family Practice. “Mammograms play a key role in early breast cancer detection, and early detection saves the lives of thousands of women each year.”

This year, the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that there will be more than 324,000 cases of breast cancer (invasive and non-invasive) diagnosed in U.S. women, with more than 42,000 breast-cancer related deaths.

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. It detects abnormalities in the breast tissue earlier.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends routine mammography for women starting at age 40 and encourages women speak with their doctor or a primary care physician about their risk factors to determine the right time to start receiving screening mammograms. In certain cases, women should be tested before the age of 40. In addition, although, breast cancer is more widely associated with women, men can get breast cancer too, but it is much less common.

“There have been breakthroughs and new techniques with digital mammography and 3-D imaging – both of these screenings provide clearer images and reduce false positives,” said Dr. Atoyebi.

Although no screening test is 100 percent effective, she recommends yearly mammograms, which have been shown to detect breast cancer early.

Although routine self-breast exams, and annual clinical breast exam are no longer recommended by national guidelines, it can still be beneficial to know what the normal breast tissue feels like, in case a change develops. Any changes or breast concerns should be shared with your primary care physician. 

“Early detection is the key to treating and surviving breast cancer,” she added.

For more information on breast health services at Piedmont or to schedule your mammogram at Piedmont Walton Hospital, visit www.piedmont.org/Walton.

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