Change in Breast Tissue Since Last Mammogram: Does This Normally Happen?
What’s the meaning of change in breast tissue since the last mammogram? In 1966 the first-ever “compression mammography” machine was invented. By the next decade, these machines were mass-produced and used to provide mammograms throughout the USA. During the past decades, public awareness for breast cancer and breast health has increased. This has resulted in more women getting diagnosed with breast cancer. This has resulted in very high 5-year survival rates of 90%. Among breast cancer patients. It’s important to have regular mammograms to check for changes in breast tissue that could indicate health issues including breast cancer.
It can be stressful if you’re called back to the doctor’s office after a mammogram. In some cases, there are changes to breast tissue since the last mammogram you had. In that case, there can be different results. The main results you can have are normal, abnormal, and cancer. It’s critical to know the meaning of each one so you’ll know what your options are and what steps to take next. Besides breast cancer, there are other conditions like cysts that you might require treatment. However, it’s important not to panic. For example, 80% of cysts are non-cancerous.
What Exactly Is a Mammogram?
This is a kind of X-ray picture of the breasts. Mammograms are used to check for breast cancer. Mammograms are important for detecting cancer cells/tumors early. This helps to improve the chance of preventing cancer from spreading.
A mammogram requires the patient to compress their breasts between two surfaces. This helps to expand breast tissue. The X-ray machine then captures black/white images of the breasts.
The picture is shown on a computer screen. A doctor then reviews the image to check for signs that the patient has cancer. There are other kinds of tests the mammogram can be used for. However, the main function of the machine is to check for breast cancer.
The frequency of women should get a mammogram is based on various factors. They include age, breast cancer risk, and others. Your doctor can provide information about this issue so you’ll know how often you should get a mammogram every year.
The main function of mammograms is to pick up abnormalities including tumors. Doctors often use these tests to diagnosing a breast lump. In many cases, they’re benign (non-cancerous). However, there’s a chance various kinds of lumps might be a breast tumor.
There are different kinds of mammograms. A screening type is used to detect various breast changes among patients who have no signs/symptoms of new breast abnormalities. The goal is to detect cancer cells before there are clinical signs of the disease.
Then there are diagnostic mammograms. These are used to check breast changes that raise question marks. This includes new breast lumps, pain, or appearances.
It can also check for abnormal findings that are found on a screening mammogram. However, the main benefit of diagnostic mammograms is that they provide extra mammogram images.
The average age women start mammograms is 40 years old. There are different recommendations about the frequency although it’s often two years.
Change in Breast Tissue Since the Last Mammogram
In some cases, your doctor will call you back after a mammogram is done. This is based on changes to breast tissue since you had the last mammogram. Getting a call-back doesn’t mean that you have a serious condition like breast cancer.
Your mammogram results can be “abnormal” but this doesn’t mean you have breast cancer. In many cases, new growths aren’t cancerous. However, it’s important to get the facts about your mammogram results. This will help to give peace of mind.
An X-ray machine takes pictures of the breast from two different angles. Specialists review mammograms for any unusual signs that could be a sign of cancer.
The tests usually take around 20 minutes to complete. Some women might experience a little pain/discomfort. However, it’s a basic test that usually happens without any issues.
A mammogram’s image has a black background. The breast appears in whites/grays. Dense tissue like glands appears white in the image. Meanwhile, some women have dense breast tissue. This can make it tougher to see tumors since dense tissue also looks white.
A “normal” mammogram usually looks mostly gray with a little white showing dense breast tissue that’s healthy. Meanwhile, more white on mammograms doesn’t always show health issues.
Radiologists review imaging tests like X-rays/MRIs. They review the picture carefully so they can figure out if any issues could be a sign of different issues like tumors.
If a radiologist sees any tissue that looks abnormal it’s a red flag that there could be an issue. Radiologists look for white areas, dense tissue, and issues like shape/size/edges of dense tissue.
When a mammogram shows a lump/tumor it appears as non-blurry white. There are two kinds of tumors: benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous). Benign tumors usually don’t grow or become a different shape. Most breast tumors are non-cancerous.
Tips to Help Prevent Breast Cancer
1. Eat Fruits/Vegetables
This is important because they’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants. It’s critical to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. They should make up about half of your diet with somewhat more vegetables than fruits.
2. Don’t/Quit smoking
If you’re smoking already it’s important to quit ASAP to reduce your risk of breast cancer. If you don’t smoke then make sure to avoid starting. Cigarettes contain lots of toxic chemicals that can cause various health issues including cancer.
3. Exercise regularly
This step can help to reduce your risk of several health issues including breast cancer. It’s important to stay active 30+ minutes per day. It’s even better if you do an hour of moderate/high-intensity workouts most days of the week. This can provide several health benefits including weight loss and lower cancer risk.
4. Avoid HRT
This is known as hormone replacement therapy. It’s common among menopausal women who want to increase their female hormones like estrogen. However, some studies show that HRT can increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Try to use more holistic (whole-body) methods for boosting hormone levels.
5. Limit alcohol
There’s some debate among health experts about how much do drink. Some studies show that drinking one glass of wine every day is healthy. Other studies show that drinking alcohol provides no health benefits. The key is to stay within the recommended limit of one drink per day for women.
6. Lose weight if overweight/obese
Studies show that even being slightly overweight can increase your risk of various health conditions, including type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. It’s critical to maintain a healthy weight based on factors like your age, height, build, etc.
Becoming overweight increases your risk of breast cancer. This is especially true after menopause when there’s a greater chance of change in breast tissue since the last mammogram.