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When it comes to detecting breast cancer early, regular mammograms are key. And diagnosing the disease early means you’ll increase your odds of beating the disease. When it’s found at the earliest stages, 98 percent of women will survive another five years, and many will survive—and thrive—for much longer.
Alicia Starr, M.D., medical director of the women’s imaging center at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano, says, “If you’re a woman age 40 or over, the best way to detect breast cancer at its most treatable stages is to have a mammogram every year.”
If you’re having your first mammogram, you might be anxious about the test. Here’s how it works. A mammogram X-rays your breast, lumps may be visible as white spots on the X-ray. A technician uses a special machine designed just for mammograms to image your breasts. To make sure the X-ray is clear and shows as much of the breast as possible, during the test the machine compresses your breast.
For the procedure you’ll undress from the waist up, and the technician will help position your breasts, explain what will happen and answer any questions. Each breast will be compressed twice, for a few seconds each time. The compression might be uncomfortable but it shouldn’t be painful. Be sure to let the technician know if you feel pain and she can adjust the machine. If you find your breasts are sensitive before and during your menstrual periods, schedule your mammogram for the week after your period.
If your results show an area of concern, don’t panic—more than 80 percent of call backs are not cancerous. If you feel a new lump, be sure to tell your doctor so that they can order the appropriate test to determine if your lump is dangerous.
Baylor Plano offers women’s imaging services—including convenient Saturday appointments—at two locations: the Women's Imaging Center on the Baylor Plano campus and the Baylor Diagnostic Imaging Center at Craig Ranch. To schedule your mammogram, call 469.814.5500.
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