When Should I Get a Mammogram?

A cartoon of a woman about to get a mammogram

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so we wanted to take some time to focus on one of the most critical exams when it comes to early breast cancer detection: a mammogram. Many questions surrounding this screening technology range from “What is a mammogram?” to “When should I get a mammogram?” To bring awareness of the importance of this annual screening, we wanted to answer some of these frequently asked questions and help you take charge of your health. Mammograms have revolutionized the way we can detect, diagnose, and treat breast cancer. Advancements in this imaging technology have improved the ability to detect breast cancer at the earliest development stages. 

At Triangle Physicians for Women, we offer our patients the latest technology and convenience in Women’s Health. For your convenience, we provide state-of-the-art 3D mammograms so that you can stay up to date with your annual screenings. 

What is a Mammogram?

A mammogram is an X-ray image of the breast used to search for early signs of breast cancer. Earlier versions of mammography, known as 2D mammography, consisted of two X-ray images, one taken from the top and a second from the side. The 3D mammogram, however, is a more technologically advanced version that works by capturing multiple slices (images) of the breast from several angles, creating a layered 3D breast image. This version is more accurate in earlier breast cancer detection than any other mammogram, which is why we are proud to offer 3-D mammograms in the office at Triangle Physicians for Women. 3D Mammography is especially beneficial for women with dense breasts, which make up between 40 and 50 percent of women aged 40 to 74 in the U.S. Research has shown that women with high breast density have about a four to five times higher risk of breast cancer than women with low breast density. This makes breast density a stronger breast cancer risk factor than many other factors known to increase risk.

When Should I Get a Mammogram?

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women should begin receiving annual mammograms at the age of 40 to help detect any early stages of breast cancer. If you have a family history of breast cancer, your doctor may recommend that you start to get annual mammograms even before the age of 40. As a general rule of thumb, screening can begin five years before the earliest age of a breast cancer diagnosis in the family. For example, if your mother was diagnosed when she was 35, you should begin screening at 30. Once women reach 55, they may only have to get a mammogram every two years rather than annually. 

One benefit unique to Triangle Physicians for Women is the convenience of getting a mammogram. At our practice, we can accommodate a mammogram in the same appointment as your annual GYN appointment. In most cases, we can almost always accommodate a mammogram at your appointment with us, even you haven’t already made an appointment in advance. 

What are the Risks and Benefits?

When it comes to annual mammograms, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Mammograms help detect the early stages of breast cancer, which makes it earlier to treat. Mammography is accurate, with screenings accurately identifying 87% of breast cancer. However, there is a risk of missing some breast cancers or showing a potential false-positive. Still, it is estimated that mammograms have prevented more than half a million breast cancer deaths in the United States, making it enough to stay up to date with your annual mammograms.

Talk To An OB/GYN

The team at Triangle Physicians for Women is here for you in all stages of your life. If you have any questions regarding mammograms, please reach out. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Triangle Physicians for Women, you may do so by calling (919) 678-6900 or requesting an appointment electronically under the Contact Us tab.

Dr. Pearce was attentive, listened well, and provided a comfortable experience for me. My recent vaginal exams have been very uncomfortable and she provided a very comfortable exam this time.

Dr. Pearce was AMAZING! She answered all my questions and didn’t make me feel rushed. Best experience I’ve had at Triangle yet! She really put my worried first-time mom mind at ease.

I think Dr. Grana and her assistant (Mandy) are the best. I have been going to TP4W for years – at least 20, and I have never been disappointed with the level of care I have received. I can be a challenge as my level for pain tolerance is low and they put up with me! I can’t help but highly recommend the practice to anyone looking for exemplary women’s healthcare.

Love love love Dr. Grana and her crew. Love going to Holly Springs office. The girls are the best from Lisa at the front desk to all the girls in the back. Your music and atmosphere is great. Thanks for making these appointments fun!! Yes believe it or not, fun!!!

Dr V and the office staff were all very professional, understanding, caring and very efficient. I would be happy to recommend this practice to friends, family and associates. – Barbara M. Lucas

My visit was great! & my past visit have all been great.Kristy helped me even with me being a bit stressed & in a hurry because I had to be seen & my job is super strict. Her urgency to get me seen was phenomenal. I even got to see Heather, she’s awesome & amazing. She helped deliver my baby girl a year ago. My whole family loves her and Dr Sheshadri. We actually can’t wait to get pregnant again hahaha. Everyone treats you with respect and always makes sure your okay & answers whatever questions you have before you leave. Even leaving a message for the nurses,they get back to you so quickly.  This practice really makes you feel taken care of.  We appreciate you all!  – Erika Hooks

My experience with the TP4W staff has been top of the line.  They helped me through three pregnancies and coached me through every step of the way.  Eternally thankful I chose TP4W.  – Britney

TP4W have such amazing doctors, midwives and nurses.  I cannot say enough about Dr. Grana and the rest of the staff for all the help, advice, guidance and medical care they provided me with all of my kids.  She made me feel safe and calm through both c-sections.  My routine care and pregnancy care have always been top notch and I would recommend them to anyone looking for an OBGYN.  – Brooke

We were honored to receive a hand written note..

Dr. Grana, Angie, Jessica, Heather, April, Sarah and the rest of the staff –

Thank you all so much for taking such good care of me through both of my pregnancies and births, especially my latest one on 10/29! most of yall know how nervous I was from having gone through a lot (to say the least) with my first in 2016. You all made me feel so comfortable and at ease before, during and after. And going through a touch year with my dad, you guys always asked how he was doing at every appointment, which was so thoughtful and beyond your job description. I know that you all see many women go through what i did each and every day and deliver many babies and perform many c-sections. But I hope you know how special Ruby’s delivery was to me. You all have amazing jobs! I cannot thank you all enough. Merry Christmas!

Love, Lucy

I have been going to TP4W since 2010/11 and could not be happier.

The staff, nurses, midwives, and doctors are all amazing. I have 2 sons, both delivered via cesarean by Dr. V. Every visit and every provider did everything in their power to give me the birth experience I wanted, and also ensure that myself and my babies were safe and healthy. Dr. V even did everything in his power to help me avoid my first c-section and VBAC with the second, but that turned out to be out of his hands and he was the absolute best surgeon. With my two pregnancies, I experienced a few scares and some unusual circumstances that would be too long and too private to write in a review, but every single hurdle was handled with grace, honesty, and professionalism. I am so thankful for the recommendation from a friend to come to this office. I can’t imagine ever going to another practice.