Breast cancer remains one of the most commonly diagnosed diseases. Although it occurs in both men and women, it is more often found in females. That’s why doctors recommend regular screening in the form of a mammogram.
However, if you search the Internet, you’ll find a lot of conflicting information as to when you should schedule one. Many factors impact the ideal age to start regular screenings, which is why you must co-ordinate with your doctor on the best time to have one.
1. If You Smoke
Researchers link smoking to a higher risk of breast cancer in younger, pre-menopausal women. Additionally, exposure to secondhand smoke can increase the risk of the disease in post-menopausal women.
If you are a smoker, your doctor may recommend starting mammograms earlier than they typically would. Consult with them, and be honest about how much and how often you indulge. While one study indicated that women with the poorest health often hide their habits from their physicians, this deceit can impact the quality of your care.
2. If You Are At High-Risk
If both your mother and your maternal grandmother had breast cancer, you run an increased risk of contracting the disease yourself. Women at the highest risk of breast cancer benefit from annual mammograms beginning at age 30 forward.
If you catch the disease in the earliest stages, you run a much better chance of defeating it. You can also explore less invasive treatment options. Your doctor may perform a lumpectomy instead of a full mammectomy if they detect your condition quickly.
If You Frequently Consume Alcohol
Did you know that alcohol can change the way a woman’s body metabolizes estrogen, increasing her breast cancer risk? One pooled analysis of 53 studies indicated that women who had two to three alcoholic drinks daily had a 20% higher risk of developing the disease than those who abstain. If you stick to no more than one drink per day, you’re probably fine. However, if you have a history of alcohol abuse, check with your doctor as to when you should start screenings.
If You Have Type 2 Diabetes
Researchers found that breast cancer is more common in women with Type 2 diabetes. Diabetic women are 20% more likely to develop metastatic breast cancer during their post-menopausal years when compared to non-diabetic women. Unfortunately, Metformin, one of the most common drugs used in treating the condition, has ties to increased breast cancer risk.
If you have this condition, consult with your physician. You can try making lifestyle changes like regular exercise and eating a healthy, plant-based diet. You may consider a special menu to decrease insulin resistance, at least temporarily. Many people can control their condition without the use of medications, but don’t stop any prescription without professional consultation.
If You Have Dense Tissue
Some women have more dense breast tissue than others. If you have uterine fibroids or PCOS, you may get extremely lumpy, sore breasts around your menstrual period. Attempt to schedule your mammogram the week after your period when the tissue is most pliant. You run an increased risk of false positives if you have fibrocystic breast disease, for example. However, you also run a higher risk of getting cancer, so early detection remains crucial.
If You’re 50 Or Older
Even though professional organisations still disagree on the ideal age to begin mammograms, nearly all agree that women aged 50+ benefit. Many women enter menopause or perimenopause during these years, and your risk increases during this time. Most organisations recommend you have one performed every two years after this age.
If You’ve Gone Through The Menopause
Menopause alters the levels of hormones in your body. Although researchers remain unsure exactly how they impact risk, starting menopause at a later age increases the likelihood of contracting the condition. Scientists theorise that this occurs due to increased exposure to estrogen. Regardless of when you began the change of life, however, if you’ve stopped menstruating, you should get regular screenings.
There Are Many Reasons to Schedule Your Mammogram Today
These seven items represent only a few of the life factors that make it important to schedule a regular mammogram. Early detection is your best chance for a complete recovery and a healthy life!