My First Mammogram
Health News

My First Mammogram

One of our LifeBridge Health patients wrote the following account of her experience of finding a breast lump and having a diagnostic mammogram. Part One deals with finding a breast abnormality, specifically in a young woman. Part Two, which will be posted tomorrow, is about getting a mammogram for the first time.

I was watching TV one evening when a commercial for an area breast care center came on. It reminded me that I needed to do my monthly breast self-exam (BSE). As I approached my left nipple, I felt an unusual lump. Thinking it was monthly cycle-related, my first reaction was to check for a similar lump in my right breast. Nothing. Okay?, I thought, Maybe the lump will go away after my next period.

When it did not, I went to my doctor. She felt the lump too, and given my family history, she wanted me to get a mammogram even though I was only in my early 30s. My paternal grandmother had been diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 38. I had heard that women with a strong family history of breast cancer should have their first mammogram when they are 5 to 10 years younger than the earliest age at which their relatives were diagnosed with the disease.

Unfortunately, there are a few problems with having a mammogram at such an early age. First, young breasts tend to be very dense, so the X-rays can be hard to read, even if they are digital. (However, some studies suggest that digital mammography is better than traditional film-based mammography for detecting abnormalities in dense breasts. Digital mammography also delivers less harmful radiation than the old technology) My doctor also gave me a script for a breast ultrasound, which gave the radiologist better information in my particular case.

Additionally, health insurance providers may be reluctant to cover the cost of a mammogram before age 35. Women who need to be screened earlier because of certain risk factors will be required to produce a special order from their doctor. Even so, this order might be questioned by insurance. However, I had a palpable lump, so coverage was easy for me to obtain.

If you have found a lump in your breast, do you know what to do? Ideally, routine screening mammography catches breast cancer early, before a lump can be felt. That?s why the American Cancer Society recommends that women with low to average risk for breast cancer should have a baseline mammogram between the ages of 35 and 40 to provide a record of what?s normal for them, and then get a screening mammogram every year from ages 40 to 70.

If you want to know more about your personal risk for breast cancer, you can take a free health assessment here.

- Uk Expert Available For Interviews Today On National Mammography Day
A University of Kentucky expert is available for interviews this afternoon to discuss the importance of mammograms. The opportunity is in honor of National Mammography Day, which is today. Dr. Margaret Szabunio, associate medical director for the UK Markey...

- Lifebridge Health Goes Pink
If you?ve been to Northwest Hospital after dark the last few weeks, you may have noticed a rosy glow cast over the main entrance. That?s because pink lights have been installed to mark October?s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It sounds simple,...

- My First Mammogram, Part Two
Yesterday, a LifeBridge Health patient shared about her background and why she needed a diagnostic mammogram. In Part Two, she talks about her experience of getting a mammogram for the first time. To read Part One, click here. While getting insurance...

- Surgeon Responds To Mammogram Controversy
by Holly Hosler By now, you have likely heard about the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force?s controversial new recommendation on Monday that most women should refrain from getting mammograms in their 40s. Their rationale is that most breast cancer...

- Northwest Hospital Breast Care Center Receives American College Of Radiology Accreditation
The Herman & Walter Samuelson Breast Care Center at Northwest Hospital has been awarded accreditation in digital mammography as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). The Breast Care Center has held ACR accreditation...

Health News