Mammograms seem to have an unfairly negative reputation, which causes many women to avoid getting one when needed. Obtaining a mammogram, however, can be life-saving by leading to early breast cancer detection and thus, early cancer care. Mammograms are not nearly so unpleasant as they’ve been told to be. Here’s the truth about this invaluable screening tool:
Myth: Mammograms are painful. While it’s true that you may have some discomfort during the procedure, mammograms should not hurt. Any discomfort from the pressure is quite brief, and can be further alleviated by taking an over the counter pain reliever about an hour before your appointment. Also, if you are still having menstrual cycles, try to schedule your mammogram a few days to a week after your period when breast tissue is less sensitive.
Myth: Mammograms expose you to dangerous levels of radiation. The radiation from a mammogram is minimal, and is less even than what you’d be exposed to on a 12-hour airplane trip.
Myth: Mammograms are unnecessary because I have no family history or warning signs. Breast cancer does tend to be a higher risk with a family history, but that doesn’t mean that it never presents without one. In fact, only 15 percent of women diagnosed have a family history. Additionally, some types of breast cancer are incredibly aggressive, which means cancer care may not be as effective by the time you can actually feel a lump. Early detection is key, and in many situations that is only possible with mammography imaging.
Myth: Mammograms are not affordable. If you have insurance through the Affordable Care Act, then your mammograms are free, and you’re covered under Medicare as well. But even if you don’t have either of these options, many low-cost options are available to help you get the screening you need.
Fear of finding cancer is another big reason women avoid mammograms, but fear of the unknown is always far less than the tragedy finding out too late. At South Bay Hospital, we offer mammogram imaging and cancer care, in addition to many other healthcare services. Call (888) 685-1595 if you have questions or would like more information.