Mammogram Myths Debunked and Why You Should Schedule Your Screening Today

Simone Nicole

Nicole Simone, MD

This post was written by Cara Jo Swetsky of Jefferson Corporate Communications.

Did you know that mammograms are the leading method for early detection of breast cancer abnormalities? This October, in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Jefferson encourages women to schedule these important screenings.

Mammograms can reveal signs of breast diseases even before any symptoms are displayed. Earlier detection ultimately can lead to a better outcome, as treatment is most successful during initial disease stages.

It may come as a surprise that only 65 percent of women over 40 reported have received a mammogram in the past two years, according to the National Center for Health. This is largely due to many myths associated with mammograms.

Here are the top reasons women don’t believe they should get mammograms, but should, according to Nicole Simone, MD, a radiation oncologist at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson:

Myth: Radiation from mammograms can cause cancer.
Fact: Jefferson utilizes the latest breast health imaging technology called digital mammography, which uses a very low, safe dose of radiation. Talk to your physician or technologist about any concerns you may have regarding radiation.

Myth: Getting a mammogram takes too much time.
Fact: A mammogram only takes about 20 minutes. Jefferson is currently offering extended hours for breast cancer screenings so that you can find a time that’s convenient for you.

Myth: Mammograms are very painful
Fact: With recent technological transitions, discomfort during mammography has been significantly reduced. Any pain that occurs will last only a short while. For added comfort, it is suggested that you schedule your mammogram 10-14 days after you start your menstrual cycle.

Myth: Only older women need mammograms
Fact: The American Cancer Society recommends annual screenings beginning at age 40. Women with a family history of breast cancer may need to be screened even earlier. Schedule a Breast Cancer Risk Assessment to find out if you should get screened.

Myth: I’m afraid they will find something during my screening
Fact: Many women fear getting a mammogram, as it may lead to bad news. While this anxiety is normal, it’s important to know that not all abnormalities found during a mammogram are breast cancer. If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, detecting it in the early stages is crucial. When found before the cancer has spread to the lymph
nodes, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent.

When it comes to breast health, early detection is the best prevention. Jefferson’s Division of Breast Imaging has excelled in mammography and multimodality breast imaging for more than 25 years. Specialists within the Division perform approximately 40,000 procedures annually, making it one of the most active breast imaging services in the country. Learn more and make your appointment today.

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