Mammograms Essay

1161 words - 5 pages

“Estimated to be diagnosed in 1 of every 8 women in their lifetime, breast cancer continues to present a public health concern (Haber 2322)”. Breast cancer is not biased. It affects men and women of all races and ages. “Cancer represents 30% of the burden posed by no communicable diseases in the Region of the Americas of the World Health Organization (Luciani, Silvana 640)”. In men it affects less than 1 percent of the population. Routine mammograms and checkups are not only healthy but can also save lives. Giving the doctor thirty minutes of your time could ultimately mean the difference between life and death in some cases.
Many people think if they do not feel any lumps in their breasts there is nothing to worry about. That is not always the case. “Mammography remains the “golden standard” screening method for women…and reliably identifies malignant tumors, especially those that are too small to feel (“Advances in breast imaging”). “Checking one’s own breasts for lumps or other unusual changes is called a breast self-exam, or BSE. This type of exam cannot replace regular screening mammograms or clinical breast exams. In clinical trials, BSE alone was not found to help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer (cancer.gov)”. Mammograms are necessary because performing a self-exam does not always find what is there. Although self-breast exams have been known to catch lumps in the breast, mammograms have found more due to the fact that they can detect very small cancer much sooner than self-breast exams can. Also not very many people know how to correctly administer a self-breast exam. It is recommended that if you do perform self-exams you should also get routine mammograms. If you rely solely on self-exams, it may be too late when you find a lump.
A mammogram is a low-energy x-ray of the breast. They require a minimal amount of radiation exposure. The risk of exposure is extremely low. There are also high-quality mammograms which are effective in finding breast cancer early. An early detection of breast cancer allows more treatments which can save one’s life and deter the removal of one or both breasts. Mammograms are probably the most important tool doctors have in diagnosing breast cancer. Although they do not prevent one from acquiring breast cancer, it does help diagnosing as early as possible. “Mammography has a false-negative (missed cancer) rate of at least 10 percent (Wikipedia)”. Mammograms rarely miss cancerous cells. That of which they do miss is because of the density in the breast. A false negative is more common among younger women due to the fact that younger woman have more density in their breasts. There are four different categories found by mammograms: 1. easily treated cancers. 2. aggressive cancers that are detected too late. 3. slow-growing cancers that ultimately will not harm or kill a patient before natural causes do, and 4. a small number of cancers who treatment outcome is better because of early detection....

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