Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women. Yet a third of women over forty haven’t had a screening in the past two years. If one of these women is you, you can visit San Fernando Community Health Center to change that. Here’s why you should:
Women should certainly start getting annual mammograms at age 45, but they can start getting them as early as age forty. Studies show that breast cancer is more aggressive in this age group. When they turn 55, most women can reduce mammograms to every other year.
If you started your period before age twelve, or started menopause after age 55, you could be at increased risk for breast cancer. This is because longer exposure to estrogen in the body means a greater risk of developing the disease.
Another high-risk factor for breast cancer is dense breast tissue. Dense breasts have more fibrous tissue when compared to fatty tissue than normal breasts. They don’t feel any more firm than normal breasts, so the only way to know if you have them is by getting a mammogram.
Women should do self-exams to check for breast cancer, but it’s not enough. By the time you feel a lump or other change in breast tissue, cancer may already have spread to a much larger area inside your body. Mammograms can detect breast cancer up to three years before you would be able to yourself.
Many people believe that women with no family history of breast cancer are safe from the disease, but this isn’t true. Most women who develop breast cancer have no other cases in their families, so they need mammograms as much as everyone else.
Here’s what happens during a mammogram: Breasts are placed in a machine and squeezed to spread out the tissue while an x-ray is taken. This is uncomfortable – a lot like the feeling of using a blood pressure cuff – but only lasts a few seconds. Four pictures are taken, from the top and diagonally on each side, then you’re done!
The earlier breast cancer is detected, the more treatable it is, and for less money. SFCHC makes getting a mammogram easy: we accept a number of insurance plans. For those without insurance, SFCHC offers a sliding fee scale based on household size and income.
Your health and comfort are important to us. Let us help you care for yourself by booking a mammogram at SFCHC. Call us at (818) 963-5690 today.