Discomfort from breast compression causes some women to delay their mammography appointment. While it’s hard to love getting a mammogram, there are five good reasons for them:
1. Mammography has helped reduce US breast cancer mortality by nearly a third since 1990.
2. Of all the years of life saved by mammography, 40 percent are for women in their 40s.
3. Three quarters of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease and are not considered high risk.
4. Even for women over 50, skipping a mammogram every other year would miss up to 30 percent of cancers.
5. Mammograms require very small doses of radiation. The risk of harm from this radiation exposure is extremely low and the benefits of mammography nearly always outweigh the potential harm from the radiation exposure. Nevertheless, women should talk with their healthcare providers about the need for each image.
So if the thought of mammography compression makes you wince, consider the pain you save yourself (and your family) in the long run.
Next Friday’s blog will cover new developments in breast cancer research and treatment. In the meantime, if you know someone whose life was saved by a mammogram, please share the story in the comments section.