October 16, 2009, Newsletter Issue #101: The Importance of a Baseline Mammogram

Tip of the Week

Out of 1,000 mammograms, only one or two women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Pretty good odds, yet, having a mammogram can be very stressful for many women. A baseline mammogram is the first step in easing your anxiety about this important breast cancer screen. The term “baseline mammogram” refers to the first mammogram a woman has. Baseline mammograms are important for you because a doctor will compare all subsequent mammograms to it. If an unusual “spot” shows up on your mammogram, and the same “spot” appears on your baseline mammogram from last year, (the same size, shape and location), a doctor will know that this is a normal part of your breast tissue, and not a new breast cancer growth. So, if you do not have a baseline mammogram, you are more likely to encounter additional follow-up procedures, like ultrasounds and biopsies, to identify anything that shows up on your mammogram as an abnormality. Be sure to take your baseline mammogram films with you whenever you move or change medical facilities. You will avoid unnecessary anxiety caused by follow-up procedures and get more accurate results.

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