When it comes to routine breast screening, it’s without a doubt an essential step to ensure you’re in control when it comes to your health! However, we believe that not all screening is equal and the screening option that’s best for you is determined by several personal factors.
Recommendation on the type and frequency depend on your age, family history, level of risk and other features such as breast density and general health. This means that being aware of your family health history and breast density are essential in order to ensure you’re receiving the most appropriate screening method. Pry for answers to these questions babes!
At present, 2D mammography is used by the vast majority of screening centres in Australia. However, one of the latest methods for diagnostic testing is the 3D mammography exam. This type of screening helps eliminate most detection challenges with conventional 2D mammography in a diagnostic setting.
This may be performed in conjunction with an Ultrasound and/or MRI exam. In numerous clinical trials in women at high risk of breast cancer, MRI breast screening has been found to pick up significantly more cancers than mammogram alone. Ultrasound can also help pinpoint the position of a tumour. A breast ultrasound is most often done to find out if a problem found by a mammogram or physical exam of the breast may be a cyst filled with fluid or a solid tumour.
Truthfully, not all screening is equal and there is no single technique that will suit all women.
Considering Other Screening Options
Although all women could potentially benefit from a 3D mammography exam, the following high-risk groups may be more suited to a diagnostic referral for 3D mammography:
- Those with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancers
- Women with dense breasts, e.g. those aged <50 years not actively targeted by the national screening program
- Women with any breast changes, signs or symptoms
- Women with a previous diagnosis of breast disease or those requiring further assessment following a 2D exam
Ultrasound should be considered if you:
- Have particularly dense breast tissue.
- Are pregnant. Mammography uses radiation, but ultrasound does not. This makes it safer for the fetus.
- Are younger than age 25
Pink Hope believes that all women deserve access to world class breast screening technology and the information and support they need to make an informed choice about their health.
Babes, it’s SO important to take control of your health, and by knowing your risk and the screening options available- it’s one step closer to changing your future! Be in control and don’t be afraid to ask questions and bang on doors if you feel like something’s not right. Talk to your healthcare provider during your next screening and discuss what screening options are most suitable for you.
A GP referral is required for a 3D mammography exam. If your doctor advises you that a 3D mammogram may be right for you, click here to find a clinic offering 3D exams.
More information on understanding your risk and risk management options can be found on the Pink Hope website under Am I at Risk? More information about breast density can be found on our density hub.