3 Myths About Mammograms

You stare at your calendar, uncomfortable with the thought of what lies ahead. Perhaps it’s your first mammogram, or you are a seasoned test taker. No matter. The same troubling concerns can weigh heavily on your mind.

Taking what amounts to an X-ray of the breasts has improved dramatically since mammograms arrived on the medical scene in the late 1960s. Faster, less painful exams under the care of more skilled medical professionals have improved the experience. Women also are now better informed about mammography. Learn some of the common myths about mammograms

The latest figures from the Food and Drug Administration show that more than 38 million mammograms are conducted on women in the U.S. each year. Yet misinformation remains about these potentially lifesaving exams. Misinformation that may make some women less likely to have regular mammograms.

MYTH: “Radiation from the test will give me cancer.”
FACT: You don’t need to worry about radiation from mammograms giving you cancer.
Radiation exposure from mammograms today is extremely low, roughly the same amount a woman would get just by living three months in her normal, everyday environment. This is a a well-studied issue and has been for years. And experts say studies show no link between radiation received during mammograms and increased breast cancer risk.

MYTH: “Film mammography is better than digital.”
FACT: Both digital and film are effective tools in detecting breast cancer.
Digital imaging allows images to be recorded, viewed and stored in a computer rather than on large sheets of film. As a result, images are more easily manipulated and transferable to specialists if need be. A recent study found that digital mammography may prove more effective for women younger than 50 and for those with dense breast tissue. But that doesn’t mean it is the only, or necessarily the best, option for many women. Doctors continue to rely on film, especially for mammograms of postmenopausal women.
MYTH: “Abnormal results mean I have cancer.”
FACT: An abnormal result means more tests are needed.
Yes, it’s true that one in 10 women who undergo a mammogram will need additional images. But the American Cancer Society reports that only two to four of every 1,000 mammograms leads to a cancer diagnosis. So take a second. Breathe easy. And listen to what the experts have to say. More often than not, an abnormal result is not cancer. It’s important to pay attention to the results and get more tests. But it doesn’t mean you have breast cancer. The bottom line: Unfortunately false positive results and the anxiety that goes along with them happen. But for most women, the stress ends there.

Schedule Your Appointment Today!
So, the bottom line ladies is detection is the best protection. If you are 40-years-old, the ACS recommends that you have a annual mammogram along with monthly self-breast exams. If you have a family history of breast cancer, talk to your doctor about when you should start having mammograms. Gwinnett Medical Center uses all-digital imaging for mammograms which means, faster, clearer results. Schedule your appointment today by calling 678-312-3444.


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