Mammogram screening plays a vital role in detecting breast cancer. Doctors recommend that women between the ages of 40 to 54 get annual mammogram screening while women over 55 should get a diagnostic mammogram every two years. Detecting breast cancer symptoms early can often result in less aggressive treatment and a greater rate of survival.
Unfortunately, many different mammogram myths abound that decrease the likelihood of women scheduling a breast cancer mammogram. These myths make it a much more significant challenge to detect breast cancer. Recognizing and understanding these common breast cancer myths is important in helping you stay proactive with your health.
Here is an overview of the most common mammogram and breast cancer myths:
1) A Mammogram Isn’t Needed If I Have No Family History of Breast Cancer
One of the most common myths about mammogram screening is that you don’t need annual exams if you don’t have a family history of breast cancer. However, statistics show that over 75% of women diagnosed with breast cancer had no prior family history of the disease. Waiting until you notice breast cancer symptoms may be too late. Early detection of breast cancer is always essential, as the five-year survival rate for early-stage breast cancer is 99%, while late-stage breast cancer is only 27%. These stats only further highlight the importance of breast cancer awareness
2) Regular Mammograms vs. 3D Mammograms
Some mammogram myths claim that a 3D mammogram is the same as getting a traditional mammogram. However, a 3D mammogram offers much greater clarity and detail compared to a regular mammogram. For example, a 3D mammogram provides more images of the breast tissue to determine if there is an overlap between the normal tissue and cancer. According to medical statistics, 3D mammography provides a 40% increase in detecting early signs of breast cancer while also providing a 40% decrease in false screenings.
3) A Diagnostic Mammogram Will Expose Me to Too Much Radiation
Another common myth is that mammogram screening will expose you to an unsafe level of radiation. However, it’s important to know that a diagnostic mammogram only uses a small amount of radiation, and it’s well within medical guidelines. A breast cancer mammogram is also regulated by various organizations, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Mammography Quality and Standards Act, and the American College of Radiology. Scheduling mammogram screening each year is always safe at certified medical facilities.
4) A Breast Cancer Mammogram Isn’t Needed Since I Had One Last Year
Mammogram screening is used for detection and not prevention. A normal mammogram last year is great, but it doesn’t guarantee you that your future mammograms will come back with similar results. Always scheduling an annual mammogram is critical in detecting cancer early before it becomes more advanced. Waiting until you notice breast cancer symptoms is too great of a risk for anyone to take.
5) Mammogram Screening is Guaranteed to Find Any Signs of Cancer
An annual breast cancer mammogram plays a vital role in women’s health, but there are some limitations. This is especially true for dense breast tissue, as it’s more difficult to identify signs of breast cancer. Sometimes even normal breast tissue can hide cancer. Other imaging tools are available to detect breast cancer signs, such as an ultrasound or a breast MRI.
6) Mammogram Screening Isn’t Needed Since My Doctor Didn’t Mention It
Getting a recommendation from a doctor isn’t needed for a breast cancer mammogram. Women 40 years old and older should get mammogram screening each year, even if your doctor forgets to recommend it. Staying proactive can play a crucial role in improving your odds against breast cancer while saving you a lot of stress. You can easily schedule an appointment yourself for an annual mammogram, even if you don’t have any breast cancer symptoms.
Understanding these common breast cancer myths is important in staying proactive against this terrible disease. Recognizing these common mammogram myths will allow you to avoid falling victim to these mistakes while always putting your health as a top priority. Scheduling diagnostic mammogram screening each year is essential to your long-term health while making it possible for you to detect early signs of breast cancer symptoms.