“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. So the only thing to really be afraid of is if you don’t go get your mammograms.”
– Cynthia Nixon
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is a specific type of breast exam used to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women. This quick medical exam uses a noninvasive
X-ray targeted to each breast, producing pictures that your doctor can use to identify and treat any abnormal areas, possibly indicating the presence of cancer.
- Mammography has helped reduce breast cancer mortality in the U.S. by nearly one-third since 1990
- The ten-year risk for breast cancer in a 40 year old woman is 1 in 69
- 1 in 6 breast cancers occur in women aged 40-49
- Of all the years of life saved by mammography, 40% are for women in their 40s
- Three-quarters of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease and are not considered high risk
- Even for women 50+, skipping a mammogram every other year would miss up to 30% of cancers
For every 1,000 women who have a screening mammogram:
- 100 are recalled for more mammography
- 20 are recommended for a needle biopsy
- 5 are diagnosed with breast cancer
Why are Mammograms Important?
Annual mammograms can detect cancer early — when it is most treatable. In fact, mammograms show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Mammograms can also prevent the need for extensive treatment for advanced cancers and improve chances of breast conservation. Current guidelines from the American College of Radiology, the American Cancer Society, and the Society for Breast Imaging recommend that women receive annual mammograms starting at age 40 — even if they have no symptoms or family history of breast cancer.