Oct 5, 2016

Posted by in General, Medical Imaging | 0 Comments

Am I Too Old for a Mammogram?

am-i-too-old-for-a-mammogramOctober is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, making it the perfect time for women to consider scheduling a mammogram. According to the American Cancer Society women should be screened every year beginning at the age of forty.

For those of you out there that are more “mature” at this point in life, you may be thinking that it’s time to stop doing certain screenings-mammograms as one of them. Well, a lot of that depends on your current health. A discussion with your doctor about the pros and cons of the screening is a good idea.

For women age 75 and older, here are a few reasons to continue:

  • Women in good health should continue mammograms as they are just as effective for older women as they are for younger women.
  • Women may also choose to continue with regular screenings, even if they are not in perfect health, in order to give their family an accurate medical history. If cancerous cells are found in the breast, even later in life, younger women in the family would be more aware of the family risk.

I talked to Dr. Lee Henry, Radiologist at Pella Regional Health Center, about this issue and he said that mammograms are performed on patients “well into their 90s.”

For women age 75 and older, here is a reason to stop:

  • If a woman has serious health problems or a terminal illness that would not allow her to undergo treatment even if a tumor was found. However, women in this position may still want to consider continuing to update their family’s medical history.

I joined the whole mammogram party in the last few years as I’ve come to that age. A post from a while ago details my first mammogram experience. As I said in that post, it wasn’t nearly the agony I had built it up to in my head.

To learn more about breast cancer risks and mammograms, please talk with your physician. Mammograms can be scheduled through your physician or by calling 641–628–6620.

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