Young women may have a lot of questions about mammograms. How old do you have to be? How often? What does it do? Well, mammograms are a necessity for every woman. Mammograms are used to detect breast cancer. If you are getting checked often enough, the breast cancer could be detected early enough that it might be able to be taken care of before major problems arise. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. It is also the second leading cause of death among women. These statistics can be very scary. Part of the reason why many don’t survive breast cancer is because it wasn’t caught early enough. Getting regular mammograms may decrease the amount of deaths caused by breast cancer.When do I get it?Women typically began getting mammograms around the age of 50. After that, a woman is supposed to get checked at least once every two years. Breast cancer is more commonly found in women around this age so young women don’t need to worry as much. Talk to your doctor if you are younger than 50 to learn more about that.How is it done?There is a specific x-ray machine that will be used for your mammogram. Each breast is done individually. It may cause some discomfort, but the overall process doesn’t take more than 20 minutes.What does it look for?It can detect small lumps or masses that could have been missed by a self-exam. Lumps that have smooth edges are benign. If the lump has jagged edges, this is usual a detection of breast cancer. Mammograms can also find calcifications. This is a deposit of mineral calcium in the breast tissue. Calcifications can be caused simply by aging. They are only worrisome of cancer is there are many grouped together within the breast.What if I have breast implants?You will still need to get you bi-annual mammograms. It is important that you tell the radiologist about your implants prior to getting the exam. This will lead them to examine the scan in more detail as the implant can obstruct the view of breast tissue. The radiologist will likely take a few extra pictures of your breasts, just to be sure.Are there any risks?Mammograms are taken with an x-ray so just as any other x-ray done, you will be exposed to a very small dose of radiation. Excessive x-rays taken could lead to problems, but it is very unlikely.It is important to remember that if the mammogram does detect cancer it is not a guaranteed life saver. The earlier the cancer is found the higher your chances of survival. Get your mammograms bi-annually and give yourself regular self-exams. If you have any worries during a self-exam, talk to your doctor about getting a mammogram. Your doctor can refer you to a Las Vegas imaging center. Contact Steinberg Diagnostics at 702.732.6000 for more information about mammograms and scheduling.

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