October is breast cancer awareness month, which is a great reminder for women to get their annual mammogram.

A mammogram is basically an x-ray of the breast.

“The screening mammogram is the best way we have to detect breast cancer early, and it’s the only tool that has been shown to decrease breast cancer deaths,” said radiologist Dr. Kelly Jones.

Dr. Kelly Jones is a radiologist at the McMahon Center for Breast Health at Comanche County Memorial Hospital. She says they have 3D mammography, which helps to see through dense breast tissue.

“Cancer looks white on the mammogram, and the dense tissue looks white,” said Dr. Jones. “So the cancer can blend in with that dense tissue. With the 3D, we separate the tissue out into layers and we can look through the breast tissue kind of like flipping through a book. And it helps us to detect breast cancer.”

Mammograms are recommended yearly for women starting at age 40.

“The main risk factors for developing breast cancer are being a woman and getting older,” said Dr. Jones. “So we recommend screening for everyone. There are some women that have a higher risk of developing breast cancer because of family history, that we might recommend starting screening earlier.”

Dr. Jones says it’s important for women to be aware that everyone is at risk.

“Breast cancer is the most treatable when it’s at an early stage,” said Dr. Jones. “And the only way we are going to find that is with screening.This is a test that saves lives.”

To schedule an appointment to get a mammogram, you can call the McMahon Center for Breast Health at 250-5856. Those who get a mammogram will get a free small gift as well.