Are Mammograms the Safest Way to Test Breast Cancer?

Are Mammograms the Safest Way to Test Breast Cancer?

I bet that one of the most traumatizing revelations to a woman is to find an unusual lump or thickening around the breast area. The diagnosis of breast cancer can be shattering news to whosoever is on the receiving end; surprising enough breast cancer in men has similar symptoms to those of women but are later realized after the symptoms become more severe. Cancer first develops in the milk duct also known as the ductal carcinoma.

Symptoms associated with breast cancer

Patients often use headaches or discomfort as a common symptom there after the following tend to follow;

  • A lump in the woman’s breast usually among the main symptoms.
  • Occurrence of rashes around a nipple.
  • Discharge from one of the nipples and may contain traces of blood.
  • Shape of the breast changes.

Causes of breast cancer

The exact cause is still not defined although these causes might shed some light on to this topic;

  • Older age – that is women past the menopause stage are more susceptible to developing breast cancer.
  • Genetics – women with the TP53, BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are at a higher prevalence to this disease since they are hereditary.
  • Alcohol consumption – exceeding one bottle per day exposes women to the possibility of getting diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Radiation exposure – however much farfetched this idea would be, its true exposure to x-rays and CT scans for a long period might leave one at a greater risk of developing breast cancer

There are various ways to test for breast cancer and that brings me to the question of; how safe is a mammogram to test for breast cancer?

A mammogram is an x-ray produced image and used to detect initial signs of breast cancer by obtaining different densities of your breast tissue. A patient is required to place his or her breast on a plate that is firmly pressed down by another plate for the x-ray to be taken. The procedure is repeated to take different views of the breast; this is done to both breasts to check for any anomaly. They have greatly made it simpler for a doctor to save lives that is by early detection mastectomy is possible unlike the late detection where breast removal might be the only option.

Advantages of using mammograms

  • Recent digital mammograms produce a lower radiation exposure therefore reducing the risk of breast cancer while detecting the cancerous cells.
  • They are cheaper as compared to MRI.
  • Procedure takes a relatively shorter time as compared to that of an MRI of about 30-60 minutes.

Other means to test for breast cancer are as follows;

  • Biopsy
  • Blood marker tests
  • Breast MRI (Breast Magnetic Imaging)
  • CT scans
  • PET scans

Generally with technology in cooperated in the field of medicine, risks have been reduced to a mere negligibility by taking into consideration human health. The mammograms have become much friendlier to reducing health risks.