Vim & Vigor - Spring 2018 - University of Virginia - 45

MAMMOGRAMS

Mammograms are low-dose X-rays used to spot changes
in breast tissue. Plates attached to the mammogram
machine flatten the breast slightly so the X-ray can
capture the best images.
Pros: Mammograms save lives. Regarded as the
gold standard in detection, they allow physicians to
identify abnormal tissue growth that might warrant
further testing.
Cons: Though medical professionals agree that they
are safe, mammograms do emit low doses of radiation.
There is also some risk of false positives, which could
lead to unnecessary (and costly) treatment. But these
cons are negligible when compared with the value of
finding and treating cancer.

ULTRASOUND

PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES

Ultrasound machines create images by sending
high-frequency sound waves through a wand that is
pressed against the breast tissue. The wand picks up
the echoes of the sound waves and transmits them
to a computer to create an image.
Pros: Ultrasounds can pick up some structures that
are tough for X-rays to see.
Cons: The images aren't as detailed as other imaging
types such as MRI or CT scans, and (like mammograms)
they aren't able to discern whether tumors are cancerous, just that an abnormality is there.

Step one is always
the same: Talk to
your doctor.

QUIZ

Breast Cancer Myths,
Debunked
Think you can spot truths and falsehoods
when it comes to breast cancer? Test yourself at cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/
breast-cancer-quiz.

MANUAL EXAM (BY DOCTOR)

Healthcare providers check the appearance of breasts
for abnormal shape or size and the skin for dimpling
or rashes. Then, they use the pads of their fingers
to feel the breast and underarm area for unusual or
unexpected lumps.
Pros: Medical professionals know what to look for,
so they can spot even pea-sized lumps that might not
register during a self-exam.
Cons: Clinical breast exams, too, can result in false
positives. And some masses can't be felt from the
surface of the skin.

BREAST SELF-EXAM

In an at-home exam, you use the pads of your fingers
and, moving in a circular pattern around the breast,
check for lumps, thick spots or knots.
Pros: Self-exams empower women to take control
of their own well-being, and they keep women attuned
to signs of possible breast cancer.
Cons: The research hasn't proved that they're
particularly effective in early detection, and it could be
in part because they're not conducted correctly. Ask
your doctor about the best way to do a self-exam. ■

SPRING 2018

45


http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/breast-cancer-quiz http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/breast-cancer-quiz

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Spring 2018 - University of Virginia

Contents
Vim & Vigor - Spring 2018 - University of Virginia - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Spring 2018 - University of Virginia - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Spring 2018 - University of Virginia - Contents
Vim & Vigor - Spring 2018 - University of Virginia - 2
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Vim & Vigor - Spring 2018 - University of Virginia - Cover3
Vim & Vigor - Spring 2018 - University of Virginia - Cover4
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