If you're like most women, you may have some fear about getting a mammogram. However, this annual screening is nothing to fear and could ultimately save your life. Many myths surround the mammogram process, but we're here to set the record straight. Remember, knowledge is power when it comes to staying in good health.
I don't have any symptoms of breast cancer or a family history, so I don't need to worry about having an annual mammogram.
Fact: The American College of Radiation recommends annual screening mammograms for all women over the age of 40, regardless of symptoms or family history. More than 75 percent of women who have breast cancer have no family history. Early detection is extremely important, having an annual mammogram can lead to early detection of breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, early stage breast cancer has a five-year survival rate of 99 percent. Later-stage cancer has a survival rate of 27 percent.
Myth # 2
If I have any type of cancer in my breast tissue, a screening mammogram is guaranteed to find it.
Fact: Annual mammograms are very important, but there can be limitations, especially for women with dense breast tissue. The denser the breast, the more likely the cancer can be hidden by the tissue. Breast tissue can hide or even mimic cancer. Other imaging methods are available to women with dense breast tissue.
I had a normal mammogram last year, so I don't need another one this year.
Fact: Mammography is detection, not prevention. Having a normal mammogram is fantastic, but doesn't mean or guarantee that all future mammograms will be normal. Continuing to have an annual mammogram will increase the chances of early cancer detection.
My Doctor didn't tell me I needed a mammogram, so I cannot schedule one.
Fact: You do not need a prescription or order form from your doctor to have a screening mammogram. Women that are age 40 and older should be getting screened even if your doctor forgets to mention it to you. Women can self-refer to make an appointment for their annual mammogram.
Benefits of An Annual Mammogram
Mammograms don't prevent breast cancer, but they can save lives by finding breast cancer as early as possible. According to breastcancer.org, finding breast cancers early with mammography has also meant that many women being treated for breast cancer are able to keep their breasts. When caught early, localized cancers can be removed without resorting to a mastectomy.
Resources at Augusta Health
The Women's Imaging Center offers comfort, privacy, and a caring environment to meet the needs of women. Our state-of-the-art imaging center is accredited by the American College of Radiology and all examinations are performed according to the specific guidelines set forth by the FDA. Inside you will find a spacious waiting area, coffee and tea kitchenette for our patients to enjoy light refreshments. A separate registration area is provided to assure privacy and the examination rooms are private and sensitive to your needs. We can be reached at (540) 332-4486