October is breast cancer awareness month and we want to give our community a chance to learn more about breast cancer and ways you can reduce your risk or detect cancer as early as possible!
To make sure that you are up-to-date with your health information regarding breast cancer and screenings, we’ve put together a list of some common misconceptions that many women have.
Let’s jump right in!
Mammograms are painful.
- Many women may feel some discomfort, but only for a very short time. When you get a mammogram, you stand beside the machine and a specially trained technologist helps place your breast on a metal plate. A second plate made of plastic is placed on top, and for a few seconds, the top plate is pushed down to flatten the breast to get a good, clear picture. Two pictures are taken of each breast. Be sure to tell our technologist if you have any pain.
I’m too young to get breast cancer.
- A woman can get breast cancer at almost any age in her lifetime. Most breast cancer will not appear until about age 40, however, there are certainly cases of women in their 20s who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Statistics show that 25 percent of women with breast cancer are younger than 50 years old. Older women are more likely to develop breast cancer since the risk of this disease increases with age. Essentially, you’re never too young or too old to get breast cancer. While a breast lump in a younger woman is much less likely to be cancer than a lump in an older woman, it can be cancer and needs to be evaluated.
Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer
- As you may know, performing regular self-exams is an important part of maintaining your health. However, should you find a lump during the course of a self-exam, it is not an immediate cause for alarm. There are many potential sources for lumps and only a small fraction of them are actually cancerous. In fact, most lumps and tumors that are examined through biopsy are benign. However, if you do find a lump, it’s always a good idea to see a doctor just to be certain that it isn’t malignant. Your doctor will likely request a mammogram just to be sure. It is also worth noting that breast cancer doesn’t always cause lumps. This is especially true in earlier stages of the disease where the malignant cells have not yet formed a tumor large enough to be detected. That’s why it is recommended that you keep a look out for some of the other warning signs of breast cancer.
Mammograms cause cancer to spread
- Like a standard x-ray, mammograms use x-ray radiation to image breast tissue when checking for tumors or signs of breast cancer. While regular exposure to large amounts of radiation is known to be harmful, the amount of radiation used in a mammogram is extremely low. This means that any potential risk posed by mammogram radiation is far outweighed by the early warning diagnostic function it serves. There is also often concern that the compression aspect of a mammogram can cause cancer to spread. Fortunately, there is no truth to this at all.
Mammograms are responsible for saving thousands of lives, and it is recommended that women schedule annual mammograms beginning at age 40.
A mammogram is too expensive, and I can’t afford it.
- Medicare, Medicaid, and almost all insurance companies cover screening mammograms.
Don’t forget to schedule your mammogram at our convenient Mammography Office in Lake Orion, Michigan. If you are unsure if you need a mammogram, contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our healthcare providers.