Are you getting your mammograms as recommended? If you had to stop and think about when you last had a mammogram, you could be putting your health at risk.
Many women delay or skip mammograms because they feel fine, they’re not at high risk for breast cancer, or they just don’t have the time. But this could be a big mistake. Detecting breast cancer early, before you have any symptoms, greatly increases your chance of survival and effective treatment. And the best, most reliable way to detect breast cancer early is through a mammogram.
Despite their effectiveness, mammograms are often the subject of myths and misconceptions. To put your mind at ease, here is the truth about them:
MYTH #1: Mammograms expose you to lots of radiation.
FACT: Today’s mammography technology utilizes the lowest possible radiation exposure. The tiny amount of radiation you get in a mammogram is equal to what you get from just normal daily exposure in a few weeks of your typical life. This small amount of radiation is well worth the chance of catching breast cancer early.
MYTH #2: I can just do a breast exam instead.
FACT: Mammograms can catch breast cancer up to three years before the cancer can be seen or felt, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even a clinical breast exam done by your physician is not as effective at catching breast cancer early — and cannot replace a mammogram.
MYTH #3: Mammograms aren’t accurate.
FACT: Mammograms are about 80 percent effective in detecting breast cancer, and are by far the best tool available for this purpose. Although there is a small chance of getting a false positive or negative, not getting a mammogram is a much bigger risk to your health.
MYTH #4: Mammograms are painful.
FACT: Most women report only temporary discomfort during the test, which is short-lived.
MYTH #5: I don’t need a mammogram unless I’m at high risk.
FACT: If you’re over 40, you should talk with your physician about how often you need a mammogram based on your personal health history. Women over 50 all need a mammogram at least every two years.
With breast cancer, the earlier it’s caught, the better. The American Cancer Society says that 90 percent of women whose cancer is detected early are cancer-free at five years. It’s an easy and effective way to do something great for your health.
CarePoint Health Gynecology
With the help of a skilled gynecologist at CarePoint Health, you can make educated decisions about your health to be at your best at any stage of life. For more information about the comprehensive women’s services we provide, please contact us.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.