Women today have some health issues and conditions most common to or unique to their sex, and older women, especially, are encouraged to visit a clinic or doctor’s office regularly for checkups for their reproductive health, hormone levels, and their breast tissue. A contrast enhanced mammography, for example, can help doctors diagnose problems early with breast tissue such as cancer, and 3D mammography ultrasounds or even a breast biopsy procedure allows any patient to keep on top of any developing health issues. As a woman ages, her hormones often change, and the possibility of estrogen and other supplements can complicate her health even more. A contrast enhanced mammography or 3D breast ultrasound screening can keep doctors alerted to any developing issues. In some cases, a breast biopsy or other work may be necessary. What might affect a woman’s health today, and when is it time to go in for a checkup?

When to Get a Checkup

As a woman ages, it becomes more and more urgent that she go in regularly to clinics or other doctor’s offices for a contrast enhanced mammography or ultrasounds to keep pace with her changing health. Often, it is breast cancer that such women are looking out for, but there may be other issues, too. Breast cancer, however, may weigh most heavily on a woman’s mind, and there are a number of factors that may raise or lower her risk of developing it. Overall, a woman in the United States today has a 12.5% chance, or one in eight, of developing this cancer, and some common factors may alter those odds. Being physically active can have a positive impact; those who are regularly active may have a 10-20% lower chance of developing breast cancer than women who have sedentary lifestyles. Family history may also be a factor; risks of developing breast cancer are roughly doubled if a woman has a mother, sister, or daughter who developed it.

Age is also a factor for breast cancer risks, and as a woman gets older, she is highly urged to visit clinics to get a checkup to get breast cancer diagnosed early, should it be present. In particular, women in the 60-69 age group are most likely to avoid dying to breast cancer through mammography screening. Body weight is a factor here, too; among postmenopausal women, breast cancer risks are 1.5 times higher among overweight women and twice as likely among obese women as leaner women. Why is this? In a postmenopausal woman, fat tissue is her single largest source of estrogen, and very high estrogen levels in any woman increases her risk of breast cancer. This may also be a concern among women who are taking estrogen supplements early in their menopausal phase.

The Checkup

When they enter their 40s, women start visiting health clinics more often to get a contrast enhanced mammography or other screening done on their breast tissue, and many women are diligent about this. In 2015, the National Health Interview Survey found that 50% of all women aged 40 and up reported having a mammogram done within the past year, and 64% of those surveyed had had a mammogram withing the past two years. After all, as studies have shown already, mammography such as contrast enhanced mammography can reduce the risk of a woman dying from breast cancer between 20-40%, a considerable amount. Regular mammography such as contrast enhanced mammography can save lives every year and help many women today stay on top of developing breast cancer.

Often, it is simple imaging such as X-rays or ultrasound that allow doctors to examine a woman’s breast tissue for developing problems, and if such imaging as contrast enhanced mammography or other work reveals a potential problem, a woman may undergo a breast biopsy. In this case, a needle extracts a sample of her breast tissue for analysis, and the patient will be given stitches and a large bandage for the incision (the breast is numbed before the incision is made). Positive results on the biopsy can confirm a problem such as breast cancer, and from there, a patient may look into other health clinics such as a cancer treatment center. Note that the screening facility does not typically double as a cancer treatment ward.