Breast Cancer Screenings
Chapa-De Indian Health Auburn Grass Valley | Medical Clinic
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! We want to take a moment to talk about breast cancer screenings, why they are important, who should get them, and what to expect during a screening. Breast cancer is the second most frequent type of cancer in women in the United States and worldwide.
To learn more about breast cancer, check out our Breast Cancer Awareness Month blog HERE.
Why it is Important to Get a Breast Cancer Screening
The term “breast cancer screening” refers to the tests and exams used to find breast cancer BEFORE you have any symptoms. Breast cancer screenings can find cancer before it has a chance to grow, spread, or cause problems. Breast cancer is easier to treat if it is found early. Studies have shown that breast cancer screenings can lower the chance that a woman will die of the disease.
Who Should Get a Breast Cancer Screening
There are different risk levels for breast cancer. Most women are at “average risk,” which means they meet the following criteria:
- They have not had breast cancer previously
- They have not had chest radiation therapy
- They do not have a strong family history of breast cancer
- They do not have the genetic mutation known to increase the risk of breast cancer (such as a BRCA gene)
Women at average risk should begin thinking about getting annual breast cancer screenings starting at 40. Talk to your healthcare provider about breast cancer screenings to decide when you should get one. If you are over 40 and are not sure if you are due for Breast Cancer Screening, please give us a call. If you are between ages 45 and 75 years old, and it has been two years or more since you have had a screening, you are probably due for one.
Women at “high risk” for breast cancer should get breast cancer screenings yearly, typically starting at age 30. Learn more about the different risk factors for breast cancer through the American Cancer Society HERE.
What to Expect
The main test used to screen for breast cancer is a special kind of X-ray called a “mammogram.” If you have never had a mammogram before, they can seem scary. However, mammograms are simple exams and typically take about 20 minutes. The technologist will ask you to undress above the waist and give you a cover to wear during the appointment. They will position your breasts on the x-ray machine’s plate to capture a high-quality photo. You can expect some discomfort during the x-ray, but let your technologist know if you are in pain.
Here are some tips to help prepare for your mammogram:
- Try not to schedule your mammogram when your breasts are tender or swollen
- Avoid scheduling a mammogram during the week before your period
- Do not wear deodorant or antiperspirant, as they can show up on an x-ray
- Wear pants or a skirt (instead of a dress or jumpsuit), as you will only need to undress from the waist up
You can learn more about preparing for a mammogram HERE.
Chapa-De is here for you! If you have any concerns or questions about breast cancer screenings, please contact us. You can reach our Auburn clinic at 530-887-2800 and our Grass Valley clinic at 530-477-8545, or visit us online at https://chapa-de.org/.
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Chapa-De Indian Healthcare Auburn Grass Valley