Mammograms can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer among women ages 40 to 70, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Nearly 90 percent of women who find and treat breast cancer are cancer-free at five years.
Still, there is misinformation surrounding this screening procedure, so here are 10 myths and facts about mammograms.
1- Myth: Mammograms are unsafe and ineffective.
Fact: Screening mammograms are the international gold standard for detecting breast cancer early. Mammograms can usually find breast lumps two or three years before they can be felt, wrote BC Cancer Agency.
2- Myth: Mammograms are inaccurate.
Fact: They are not perfect, but mammograms are the best tool for early detection. Overall, when cancer is present, mammograms are about 80 percent effective in identifying it, said the FDA.
False-negative results (when a mammogram misses a cancer) happen about 20 percent of the time. However, repeated and regular screenings reduce this percentage.
3-Myth: Finding a lump in your breast means breast cancer.
Fact: Only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer, stated National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. If you have a lump, talk to your doctor. A mammogram may be needed to determine if the lump is serious or not.
4- Myth: You don’t need to get screened for breast cancer before age 40.
Fact: Since the risk of breast cancer is low, routine screening is not recommended for women under age 40.
5-Myth: Monthly breast self-exams are the best way to detect breast cancer early.
Fact: The American Cancer Society no longer recommends that women perform monthly breast self-exams. Instead it emphasizes breast awareness, which means being alert to any changes in your breasts.
6- Myth: All breast cancers can be detected on a mammogram.
Fact: No screening test is perfect, and mammography is no exception.