NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Doctors suggest that starting in their 40s women should get a mammogram every year to prevent severe illness from breast cancer.

“We do have some bad outcomes, but overall we do a really good job for our patients and have more good outcomes than bad,” said Dr. Brian Mahon, a Radiologist at Trident Medical Center.

Dr. Mahon’s job is to look over screenings from women in the Lowcountry every day. He wants women to know that having a yearly mammogram is key to detect cancer when it is easy to deal with.

“The average ones we catch are still in their cell of origin. But, occasionally they have become infiltrative. Which doesn’t mean it’s throughout the whole body, but it’s outside that cell of origin. On average we catch these very early and so typically that means you don’t lose the whole breast,” said Dr. Mahon.

Smaller tumors the size of a grain of rice.

Breast cancer does not grow as fast as other cancers, the tumors double in size every six months, but skipping more than a year can have severe implications.

“So once it gets to your lymphatics it can start to get to your bones and brain. That opens up a Pandora’s Box of further imaging and testing that we need to do whether it be an MRI of the brain or a PET-CT,” said Dr. Mahon.

Larger tumors in a right breast.

Trident Health has done over 20,000 mammograms for women in the Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester county communities as of October 9. Dr. Mahon and his team are able to deliver good news most of the time when they catch cancer early.

“We catch these things before they’ve gotten to lymph nodes and that changes the game drastically,” said Dr. Mahon.