Mammograms are Crucial to Women’s Health: Here’s why

MammogramsNew Brunswick, N.J., October 1, 2023 –While researchers continue to make advancements in cancer detection and treatment for breast cancer, one of the best ways to tackle the disease is through early detection and screening with mammography. Mridula George, MD, associate program director of breast medical oncology and medical oncologist in the Breast Oncology Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, shares more on the importance of this life-saving cancer screening.   

  1. Breast cancer is a leading health concern for women.According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer in U.S. women, behind only skin cancer.  

  1. There are several risk factors associated with breast cancer. As with many other diseases, risk of developing breast cancer increases as you get older. You also may be at high risk if you have a mother or sister who developed breast or ovarian cancer or if you have multiple family members who developed breast, ovarian or prostate cancer.  

  1. Early disease usually does not cause pain, and self-exams cannot find everything. As the cancer grows, symptoms may include a lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area, change in the size or shape of the breast, or tenderness. Other symptoms include nipple discharge or the nipple pulled back into the breast, or a change in the way the skin of the breast, areola, or nipple looks or feels (warm, swollen, red, or scaly). 

  1. Using low-dose X-rays, mammograms can show abnormal areas or tissues in your breast and can help detect cancer before you have symptoms. Your breast is placed in a special machine between two plates. The plates move together to compress your breast tissue, so it’s easier for the X-ray to obtain a clear image. Once the images are created, they’re stored on a computer where they can be viewed and analyzed by the radiologist and your doctor.  

  1. When breast cancer is detected early, and hasn’t spread, the five-year relative survival rate is 99 percent. Breast cancers found during screening exams are more likely to be smaller and less likely to have spread outside the breast. 

Take action now. If you are unsure about breast cancer screening recommendations for your personal situation, discuss with your doctor to make a decision that feels right for you.  

Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and RWJBarnabas Health is the state’s leading cancer program and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.  


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