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Why you should never miss a mammogram

Annual screening are your best defense against breast cancer

By Dr. Lynsey Cox

Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting women in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 300,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed this year, which accounts for about 30% of all new female cancers.

While these figures may sound alarming, breast cancer is treatable in many cases. It is most treatable when detected early through mammogram screenings.

Breast cancer can progress silently for years without noticeable changes, such as lumps in your breasts. Many breast cancers don’t come with symptoms, and they are only detected through screening. Therefore, we encourage yearly mammograms for most women age 40 and over, regardless of family history.


A mammogram is a special type of X-ray that can detect breast cancer. The most advanced form of breast cancer screening is a 3D mammogram. This technology captures multiple images that are merged into a 3D view of the breast. This allows a radiologist to carefully look through different layers of the image, making it easier to spot any areas of concern.

Women at high risk for breast cancer may need to start screening before age 40, or they may need screenings with a breast MRI to provide more details about their breast tissue. Your gynecologist or primary care doctor can help you assess when to start screening.


The American Cancer Society reports a five-year survival rate of 99% when breast cancer is caught early. This is why annual mammogram screenings are your best defense, along with regular self-checks.

If you do find a lump, it’s important to know that it does not always mean cancer. We urge you to see your doctor if you find any unusual mass or bump that persists beyond a few days.

Dr. Lynsey Cox is a gynecologist, at Ochsner Medical Center – Hancock. Call (228) 255-8216 or visit to make an appointment or learn more.

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