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Mammograms: Myth vs Fact

October 21, 2022

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Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Texas women. Mammograms remain the most effective way to improve early detection of the disease. Steady declines in mortality among women since 1989 have been attributed to a combination of early detection and improvements in treatment. This screening tool helps women who may not have any signs, symptoms, or family history check for breast cancer. Additionally, mammograms can detect changes in a woman’s breast that could indicate cancer years before symptoms develop. The earlier breast cancer is detected and treated, the more likely it is to be curable. It is important to consult with your physician about when to begin screenings and how often you should get them.

When it comes to breast cancer screenings, women often have many questions. Texas Oncology is here to help dispel three common myths about mammograms.

Myth #1: 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: Early detection of breast cancer is critical. About 85 percent of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer or are not considered high risk. Women who wait to have a mammogram until they detect symptoms of breast cancer may find that the cancer is more advanced.

Myth #2: I have breast implants so I can’t get a mammogram.

Fact: Mammography is safe for women with breast implants. In a regular screening, X-ray pictures of each breast are taken, typically from two different angles. If you have implants, it may be necessary for a few additional X-rays to be taken. When you schedule your appointment, let your physician know that you have implants, as additional time may be required for your exam.

Myth #3: Mammograms are painful.

Fact: Some women skip regular mammograms because they are anxious or stressed about possible discomfort. It is important to compress the breasts for a few moments during a mammogram to guarantee a clear picture and detect any abnormalities. The compression may lead to temporary discomfort, but there is no lasting breast pain after a mammogram. Your breasts may be more sensitive right before or during your period, so consider scheduling your mammogram in the middle of your menstrual cycle.

Texas Oncology encourages all women to consult with their physician regarding the need for routine cancer screenings.

For upcoming webinars visit www.TexasOncologyFoundation.org.