October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Yet, despite the abundance of information available on the important role that mammograms play in early detection, misconceptions still exist.
Sheila Manion, MD, breast radiologist and medical director at Kettering Breast Evaluation Centers, addresses some of the biggest myths regarding mammograms:
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 Radiology recommends annual screening mammograms for all women over 40, regardless of symptoms or family history. “Early detection is critical,” said Dr. Manion. “If you wait to have a mammogram until you have symptoms of breast cancer, such as a lump, at that point the cancer may be more advanced.”
According to the American Cancer Society, early-stage breast cancers have a five-year survival rate of 99 percent. Later-stage cancers have survival rates of 24 percent.
A mammogram will expose me to an unsafe level of radiation. Fact: While a mammogram does use radiation, it is a very small amount and is within the medical guidelines. Because mammography is a screening tool, it is highly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, Mammography Quality and Standards Act, and other governing organizations, such as the American College of Radiology.
My doctor didn’t tell me I needed a mammogram, so I cannot schedule an exam.
You do not need your doctor to write you a prescription or complete an order form for you to have a screening mammogram. Women can self-refer to make an appointment for their annual mammogram for earlier detection of breast cancer. “If you are a woman and 40 or older, you should have a mammogram every year,” said Dr. Manion. Take the time to take care of yourself After cancers of the skin, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women today.
In fact, one in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. A mammogram only takes 15 minutes and could save your life. Make your appointment today. Kettering Breast Evaluation Centers are conveniently located throughout the Greater Dayton area. Call 1-800-373-2160 to schedule your mammogram today or visit ketteringhealth.org/breasthealth