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Yearly mammograms are key to early detection

Breast Cancer Screening
Posted at 3:30 AM, Oct 07, 2021

The shades of pink, ribbons, and stories of survival are all reminders of the importance of getting those yearly breast cancer screenings.

Dr. Timothy Machen, breast radiologist with Lourdes Breast Center, said he has heard it all when it comes to people waiting to get their yearly breast exams.

"The vast majority of women who come in for their baseline mammogram examination leave pleasantly surprised with their lack of discomfort," Machen said. "That's because we practice patient led compression. That means that the compression is gradually applied to the breast that is adequate to the examination. If it gets to be too much, then it can back down before the images are acquired."

As a Breast Radiologist, Machen said he has seen technology evolve over the years which makes the process more comfortable and reliable.

"The cancer detection rates are much higher," Machen said.

A mammogram is not the only way to screen for breast cancer, although it is the most preferred. There are supplemental screenings that work better for some people

"An MRI and ultrasound are supplemental screening and can be beneficial to women in high-risk populations or with a higher breast density," Machen said. "To determine if they're beneficial to do it's as simple as speaking to your health care provider to determine what's best for you and your lifetime risk of developing breast cancer."

Like with all screenings, it all comes down to early detection. That is something doctors across the U.S. have struggled with during the pandemic. Machen said they are doing everything they can to make sure people are safe when they are inside of their facility getting a screening that could potentially save their life.