According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Screening mammography is the only method proven to reduce deaths due to breast cancer by detecting breast cancer early. Since mammograms were introduced in the U.S. in the 1980’s, there have been 30 percent fewer deaths from breast cancer among women.
Major risk factors of breast cancer include age, genetics, and breast density. The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age. After age 50, the probability of developing breast cancer within 10 years is 1 in 43. Women who have a close relative who has had breast cancer are also at increased risk; about 5 to 10 percent of breast cancer cases result from gene mutations that are inherited. Women with dense breast tissue as seen by mammography, have a significantly increased risk compared to those without dense breasts.
I am personally in the category of having dense breasts. Last year I received my first call back. After additional testing on a second visit I was fine. It was scary and it wasn’t fun, but I will continue to get my mammogram every single year, even if it causes me some anxiety. Many times everything is fine, but it’s important to be sure! This is a great month to take charge of your health and schedule your mammogram!