No one thinks they are fun. In fact, mammograms have been likened to having a sixteen-wheeler drive over your breast, repeatedly.
But there’s also no substitute for mammograms. They have saved a lot of lives. Specifically, they are an excellent tool for predicting breast cancer. And that’s a common killer for women over forty.
She has a right to a mammogram
Guidelines say that a woman over 75 may not need a mammogram anymore. The same guidelines also say that, if a woman has a fatal health condition, she can stop having mammograms.
Doctors generally agree that, between the ages of fifty and seventy-five, women need to have mammograms every one or two years. If a woman has had a breast removed or a lumpectomy (the removal of a cancerous lump), she should have a mammogram at least once a year. If she is on a medication that prevents breast cancer, she may only need a mammogram every two years.
Here’s the most important thing caregivers need to know about the guidelines: Your mother has a right to a mammogram at any age and for any reason that she thinks is sufficient. Women and their health advocates know best what the family history predicts, what the patient’s risks are, and how much medical intervention she wants in the fight for survival.
Mammograms may predict heart disease
There’s a new reason to get a mammogram. For at least four years, medical researchers have been saying that mammograms predict heart disease. How does that work? Mammograms can detect calcium build up in breast arteries. The scientific term for this is breast arterial calcification (BAC). This calcium build up is a frequent predictor of heart disease.
One study showed that women with BAC were twenty-two times more likely to develop heart disease. Let’s put that another way. When a woman has calcium in her breast arteries, there’s a good chance she has calcium in her heart arteries. And that’s heart disease. This matters, a lot, because heart disease is the most common cause of death in women living in the United States.
Home care can help
Many caregivers know how mobility issues, like using a wheelchair or a cane, can make it difficult for older women to get all the healthcare they want and need. A home care professional who comes to her home can help your mother into a car and get her to the doctor and the clinic for that lifesaving mammogram and follow up tests as needed.
Home care workers wear other useful hats as well. They are good confidantes. They will listen to your mother’s concerns about her health and help her talk through what tests and treatments she wants.
In conclusion, any woman who thinks she needs a mammogram should get a mammogram. Be aware that mammograms have saved hundreds of thousands of cancer victims. And now, it looks like they can also help women get ahead of the curve on heart disease.
If you or an aging loved one are considering a Caregiver in Waxhaw, NC, please call the professional staff at Caring at Heart today at (704) 379-7510. Serving Charlotte, Statesville, Ballantyne, Mooresville, Huntersville, Matthews, Concord, Gastonia, Pineville and Indian Trail