Thursday, April 18, 2024

BLACK TO LIFE – For A Healthier You

By Dr. Annette Mayes

Mammograms and other breast exams

Dr. Annette Mayes

The time is now to be conscious of your health. For women, we must be mindful that after a certain age, it is important to be proactive as it relates to our examinations — specifically, mammograms and other breast exams.

Thousands of women die from breast cancer every day, but conducting frequent self-exams while showering, and scheduling annual mammograms, are preventative measures that can save your life. Cancer kills, so it is imperative to practice good health measures — diet, exercise and regular doctor visits — to ensure optimum health.

First, I want to clarify what a mammogram is. It is an x-ray picture of the breast, which doctors use to find early signs of breast cancer. If your family medical history shows that blood relatives have encountered cancer, it might be wise to begin having regular mammograms in your thirties — or even earlier, according to your doctor’s recommendations.

Fear is a feeling we all have to confront, and if you are fearful about getting a mammogram, just remember that it is a quick and easy exam. It normally takes only minutes, but can save you a lifetime.

Let me give you a visual of what takes place during a mammogram. First, you will be referred by your doctor to a facility that specializes in that particular examination. Once there, you will be led to a special x-ray machine that you will be asked to stand in front of, and a technician will assist you with placing your breast on a clear plastic plate. Another plate will firmly press your breast from above, and the plates will flatten your breast as much as possible while the x-ray is being taken.

A picture of your breast will be taken so that the doctor can see if there are any abnormalities that indicate the possibility of cancer. You might feel some pressure while the plates are pressing against your breast. Hold still, in order for the technician to get the best possible x-ray on both breasts. These steps are repeated to get a side view of each breast. Upon completion, you will be asked to wait for the technician to check the four x-rays to make certain they do not need to be re-done.

The mammogram technician cannot tell you the results of your examination. You will likely receive a letter indicating whether you mammogram was normal. If not, you will be asked to either have another mammogram or — if your doctor finds a mass or lump — undergo a biopsy.

Remember: You are strong, and it is better to know than to wait and see. This is how we save one life at a time.

For more information contact Las Vegas All Women’s Care at 702-522-9640; located at 700 Shadow Lane, 1st Floor, #165 Las Vegas, NV 89106.

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