Don't Let Myths Get in the Way of Getting Your Mammogram
Breast health is so much more than wearing pink, or events during October. It's about YOUR health, and early detection. Invite seven of your close friends to come over. As you sit and talk, think about this statistic: 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Which one of you will it be?
Mammography is used for early detection of breast cancer, detecting it before a lump is even felt. Yet, the Center for Disease Control reports that only 66.8% of women over the age of 40 get their mammograms done. Why? There are common myths and excuses that get in the way of this life-saving test. According to the Diagnostic Imaging Center of PA, these are the top 10 excuses:
1. No family history of breast cancer- 75-80% of breast cancers are diagnosed in someone without a family history
2. I don't have time- Most take 20-30 minutes, and some centers offer evening or Saturday hours
3. I cannot afford it- most mammograms are considered a "screening" and are covered by your insurance. Those without insurance should check for programs that are often offered through their State health program
4. I'm afraid and don't want to know- early detection and treatment increases your ability to survive cancer, so it is worth getting screened
5. I have large breasts/I have small breasts- size does NOT matter
6. I have implants- additional views are often taken, and the implants are gently pushed out of the way. The risk of damaging the implant is much less than the risk of cancer
7. I'm afraid it will hurt- the breasts are compressed for 10 seconds or less. This is to get a view of tissue and any abnormal cells while using a smaller amount of radiation to get through the tissue for the image
8. I'm afraid of the exposure to radiation- we are exposed to radiation every day. Natural sources include the sun, the air we breathe, foods we eat, dental x-rays, flying in airplanes, etc. The amount of radiation used and time of exposure is very low.
9. My self-exams are normal- mammograms detect cancer years before it would be big enough for you to feel
10. I had a mammogram last year- the American Cancer Society still recommends that you get a screening mammogram every year after the age of 40.
Don't let these excuses get in your way. I had a mammogram today. It took 23 minutes from the time I registered to when I left the imaging center. The room was warm. The technologist was friendly, and informed me of each step. In fact, she had a sense of humor which also made the process easier. The compression during the imaging was always brief, and never painful.
We have seen the comic strips and jokes about mammograms. While none of us look forward to it, think of it as investing half an hour for your life, your well-being and future.. Screening and early detection could save your life and is SO important. If you doubt it, ask someone who is fighting for their life, or has survived breast cancer. It will certainly help you put it in to perspective!
Please consider passing this information on to someone you care about. I also invite you to return for the follow up blogs on this important topic.