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Turning 40

It’s Time to Get Your First Mammogram

A mammogram may not be at the top of your to-do list when you turn 40, but it should be! The American Cancer Society estimates approximately 297,790 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in U.S. women in 2023. What’s more, 9% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are diagnosed in women under the age of 45 and 85% of breast cancers happen to those with no family history of it.

Why Your First Mammogram at 40 is a Vital Health Priority

You may think you’re too young to get breast cancer, but that’s not true. While breast cancer in younger women is rare, it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women ages 15-39.

“Mammograms continue to be the gold standard of care for breast health,” said Dr. Arati Patel, board-certified medical oncologist with CalvertHealth Hematology & Oncology. “And the earlier we detect cancer, the easier it is to treat. Simply put, early detection saves lives.”

With advances in technology, a 3D mammogram can show changes in the breast more than a year before detection through a self or clinical exam. Studies show women whose breast cancers are diagnosed in the earliest stages, at stage 0 or stage 1 – have a nearly 100% fiveyear survival rate. It’s important to establish a baseline (or screening) mammogram early on so that radiographers will recognize when changes occur. “The baseline mammogram will serve as a comparison point for all future mammograms,” said Patel.

Be Your Own Breast Friend

Don’t skip your annual mammograms beyond 40. Remember, mammography is detection, not prevention. Having a normal mammogram is excellent but does not guarantee that future mammograms won’t pick up early signs of breast cancer. And if you are older than 40 and haven’t yet had a screening mammogram – go online or call today to schedule an appointment

In addition to getting a screening mammogram at 40, it is essential to complete a monthly selfexam to check for lumps, as breast cancers are often found during routine self-exams. “The biggest gift you can give yourself is to be self-aware because the moment you notice developing symptoms is the moment you need to reach out to a healthcare provider,” said Patel. She went on to emphasize that you shouldn’t wait until your next screening if you notice changes. Reach out to your healthcare provider immediately.

It’s time to schedule your first annual screening mammogram. Where Can I Go to Get Screened?

Contact American Radiology Services|Calvert Medical Imaging Center or American Radiology Services|Patuxent Imaging at 410.535.4111 to schedule your 3D mammogram today! Remember, a referral is not needed for a screening mammogram. If you are not insured or underinsured, no- or low-cost screening options are available. Contact the Calvert County Health Department at 410.535.5400 x 334 for more information.
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