EL PASO, Texas -- According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. ABC-7 continues to sponsor an on-going campaign to spread awareness about breast cancer, by giving monthly reminders on the 7th to keep abreast of your health.
Women are recommended to go in to receive a mammogram once a year. For many facilities, 3D imaging is becoming more common. Desert Imaging in El Paso tells ABC-7, 3D mammograms are the gold standard when it comes to testing. According to Mayo Clinic, the mammogram combines multiple X-rays and creates a 3D image of the breast, allowing radiologists and doctors to view virtually everything within the breast.
The test can look for abnormalities and signs of breast cancer, even when a patient shows no symptoms. The mammography coordinator for Desert Imaging said a misconception women might have is that a mammogram can be painful, but that's not the case.
"Analog equipment was painful because it was a machine there was nothing digital about it," said Mirna Salinas. "A technician would crank the machine and there were a lot of steps so all that time the Woman is compressed, with digital the compression is four, five seconds, by the time the brain starts to register what's going on, it's over."
In Texas, most insurances allow women to get mammograms once a year after the age of 40. Women are also not required to have an order or referral to go into a clinic to receive testing. While there are more than three million breast cancer survivors in the country, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, so the medical community is trying to remove barriers for women to receive the testing they need.
"A mammogram takes eight minutes at the most so there's no excuses for women, mammograms save lives," Salinas said. "We take all insurances and we have very good payment plans available as well because there may be women who do not have medical insurance, but we again will try to help them out so they can get a mammogram done."
Another way to stay on top of your health, women and men are recommended to have self exams while in the shower. The National Breast Cancer Foundation recommends to feel around the breast in a circular motion from the outside to the center, feeling for any lumps or thickened spots. NBCF recommends to inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides then raise your arms high overhead.
Be sure to look out for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Then rest palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles and look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.
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