Myth vs Fact
I don’t have symptoms of breast cancer or a family history so I don’t need a mammogram.
Annual screening mammograms are recommended for ALL women over the age of 40 regardless symptoms or family history. Early detection is critical. Early stage breast cancers have a 5 year survival rate of 99%. Later stages have survival rates of 24%.
A mammogram will expose me to unsafe levels of radiation
The radiation dose of a mammogram is small and is within medical guidelines.
A screening mammogram is guaranteed to find any breast type of breast cancer in my breast.
Annual mammograms are extremely important for women, but there are some limitations. This is mostly due to dense breast tissue which may ‘hide’ or mimic a cancer. Other imaging methods can be used for women with dense breast tissue such as 3D mammography, breast ultrasound or breast MRI.
I had a normal mammogram last year so I don’t need another this year.
Mammography is detection and NOT prevention. Having a normal mammogram does not guarantee future normal ones. Clinical trials have shown a 33% decrease in death from breast cancer in women over 40 who had regular screening mammograms.
My doctor didn’t refer me for a mammogram, I cannot schedule one.
Women over 40 can self-refer for a mammogram. You can call a centre that offers this service and make a booking without a referral letter from a doctor.
A mammogram is contraindicated in women below 40.
Symptomatic women below 40 can have an ultrasound of the breasts with or without a mammogram.