When it comes to mammograms, there are numerous recommendations from various medical societies and government entities. The recommendations vary from when to start and how often to be screened. Some women may require a mammogram at a very young age.
Arnethia Day of Columbus is one of them. Day was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 29. During her annual PAP Exam, she mentioned her sister had been diagnosed with the disease a year earlier. Her sister was 41 when she was diagnosed. Using a specific formula because of the family history, Arnethia wouldn't be due for her first mammogram for another two years. But she didn't want to wait.
"As she was leaving the room, I said well, does it, would it hurt for me to just get my screenings done now? She said well if it helps clear your mind, that's absolutely fine," said Day.
A mammogram detected her cancer. But how often a woman needs the screening is a matter for debate. You can see the many recommendations on this chart. Oncologist Dr. Wassim McHayleh of West Georgia Health advocates for every year beginning at the age of 40. But some say age 50, every two years.
"Aggressive cancers grow in a very short period of time. You know I have seen women who have developed an aggressive cancer and in between 2 screenings mammograms a year apart, and they present 6 months latest after a normal mammogram with an aggressive cancer. Waiting 2 years may be too late," said Dr. McHayleh.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. About one in every seven to 8 women is diagnosed with breast cancer. One more note about Arnethia Day. She learned she was pregnant two weeks after her diagnosis. She gave birth to a healthy son Dylan, even after four rounds of chemo.