More than 30 percent of American women over 40 have not had a mammogram in the last two years. But why? Mammograms save lives, but myths about the preventive screening still persist.
Myth: If you don’t feel a lump, there’s no need to get a mammogram.
Fact: Mammograms can detect cancer that can’t be felt. If breast cancer is detected while still in the early stages, it is more likely to be cured with treatment.
Myth: If my mother didn’t have breast cancer, I won’t get it either so I don’t need to get a mammogram.
Fact: The overwhelming majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer — 70 percent — has no family history.
Myth: Mammograms aren’t really effective.
Fact: Mammography can detect breast cancer earlier than any other technology. Since the advent of mammography, there has been a 30 percent reduction in the breast cancer mortality rate.
Myth: If I find a lump, it’s probably cancer, and a mammogram will just confirm my biggest fears.
Fact: Eight out of 10 lumps are not cancerous, but actually cysts or benign masses. It’s best to be safe and have lumps evaluated as soon as possible.
“I recommend annual mammograms for women starting at the age of 40,” says Dr. Jade de Guzman, a radiologist with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group. “I believe that mammograms save lives based on the data and the facts.”