Breast Cancer Screening – What are the Benefits and Risks?

A breast cancer screening will not prevent breast cancer. However, early detection of breast cancer – when they are too small to feel or see – can save lives.

Detecting breast cancer through mammography also means that more women who are undergoing treatment for breast cancer are able to keep their breasts. Early detection means that localized cancers can be removed without needing to resort to mastectomy.

Here are some of the benefits and risks of breast cancer screening from Breast Reconstruction Associates, your breast surgeons in Fort Worth.

Benefits

  • A mammogram helps detect breast cancer early. A mammogram is a special kind of imaging or x-ray of the breast. A typical mammogram can detect breast cancer as early as 3 years before a lump could be felt. The earlier you get a diagnosis, the better your chances are of surviving breast cancer. Breast cancer at an early stage is simpler to treat.
  • Invasive breast cancers also respond better to treatment when found earlier. This might mean that chemotherapy and mastectomy may not be needed.

If the doctor detects any unusual patterns or signs on the mammogram, he may suggest a series of other tests which may include another mammogram, a biopsy, or an ultrasound.

Risks

  • The procedure may be uncomfortable for some.
  • Mammograms are not perfect and may yield false positive results. This can lead to more tests which can be time consuming, expensive, and invasive.
  • Overdiagnosis is another risk. This means that a doctor might find something that is such a low-risk kind of tumor that may go away on its own. The treatment for this is referred to as overtreatment, which may include unnecessary procedures like radiation therapy and surgery.

Surely, the benefits and risks of breast cancer screening varies for every woman. Woman aged 50 and above are recommended to get a mammogram every two years. For those who are younger, a mammogram is optional, depending on your risk factors. Every woman also has different perceptions and values, especially towards the idea of subjecting herself to unnecessary treatments and tests.

It is understandable if you are confused – it can be hard to decide whether or not you should get a breast cancer screening. To better understand the possible benefits and risks, it’s best to consult with a medical professional.

Questions? Feel free to get in touch with us at Breast Reconstruction Associates, your breast surgeons in Fort Worth.