What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is the condition in which cells in the breast mutate and grow. When the cancer spreads beyond the breast to areas like the lymph nodes or liver, it is said to have metastasized. It can start in any part of the breast – the milk glands (lobules), the milk ducts, or the fibrous and fatty connective tissue.
Did you know that breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in the United States? It accounts for 1 of every 3 cancers diagnosed. A chance of a woman developing breast cancer at some time in her life is approximately 1 in 8 (12%). It occurs in both men and women, although male breast cancer is rare.
What is a Mammogram?
A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. It is used to detect breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. It can also be used if you have a lump or other sign of breast cancer. If you and your doctor have determined you need a mammogram, based on your age and personal risk factors, you must undergo a breast screening mammogram procedure.
The types are:
- Screening mammography: Screening mammography is used to detect breast changes in women who have no signs or symptoms or new breast abnormalities. This screening is performed to detect cancer before any clinical signs are noticeable.
- Diagnostic mammography: Diagnostic mammography is performed to identify suspicious breast changes, such as a new breast lump, breast pain, an unusual skin appearance, nipple thickening or nipple discharge. Also, if there are any abnormal findings on a screening mammogram, then diagnostic mammography is suggested. This screening provides additional mammogram images.
How is a mammogram performed?
When you undergo a mammography test, you are made to stand in front of an X-ray machine. The mammographer who takes the X-rays places your breast between two plastic plates which flattens the breasts. This procedure is slightly uncomfortable, but it helps get a clear picture. You should get a written report of your breast cancer screening results within 30 days.
Who should take the mammogram test?
Women between the ages of 50 – 74 should undergo a diagnostic or screening mammography or breast X-ray every two years as they are at a greater risk. Women between the ages of 40 – 49 should talk to their doctor about when to start, and how often to get a mammogram. It is extremely important for women to get mammograms regularly, because taking precautionary measures can lower their risk of developing breast cancer.
Consult your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Lump in the breast or underarm (armpit)
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast
- Pain in the breast
What are the additional breast cancer tests?
- Breast Cancer Screen: A blood test used to detect BRCA1 and BRCA2, which are genes linked to breast cancer; mutations in these genes are associated with a greater risk for breast and ovarian cancer
- PET/CT Scan: A breast scan used to diagnose and locate tumors or abnormalities of the breast
- Breast MRI: Often ordered in conjunction with other breast exams (such as mammography and ultrasound) to screen women who are at a high risk for breast cancer
When will I receive my results?
Before you look up ‘mammogram centers near me’, you can find the ideal mammogram test near you through the LabFinder portal. Once you have found the mammogram center, complete the test procedure and you will receive the test results within 3-5 business days in your LabFinder portal.
How do I prepare for a mammogram? Do I need to fast?
No fasting required before a mammography test. Avoid using deodorants, antiperspirants, powders, lotions, creams, or perfumes under your arms or on your breasts. Metallic particles in powders and deodorants could be visible on your mammogram and cause confusion.
- If you’ve had mammograms at another facility, try to bring those records with you to the new facility (or have them sent there) for comparison.
- If you had booked and completed your last mammogram through LabFinder, your previous results will be in your secure dashboard. Make sure to bring your LabFinder Order and Insurance Card to your appointment.
Use LabFinder and get accurate and instant help to find a ‘mammogram near you’.
- Book and manage your personal health records
- Feel organized — keep your results in one place
- Save money — avoid surprise medical bills
How it Works
- Select your test & location
- Visit your appointment
- Access and share your test results any time