Resolving Mammogram Myths
When you’re armed with the truth, you’ll resolve to schedule your annual screening mammogram
Nothing feels better than tackling a New Year’s resolution. So why not choose a resolution that’s easy to accomplish and good for your health? This year, if you are a woman in your 40s, resolve to schedule your annual screening mammogram. But if mammogram myths are causing you to put off that appointment, review these mythbusters from Krista Bott, MD, a breast surgeon with Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Pocono.
Myth: Scheduling a screening mammogram or having one will take too much time.
Truth: Scheduling a mammogram takes minutes, and your mammogram appointment is quick too.
To schedule your mammogram appointment, start at LVHN.org/mammo. You’ll find quick scheduling options there.
As far as time for a screening mammogram, Bott says you will be done in no time. “A screening mammogram takes only minutes to perform, with breast compression lasting just a few seconds,” she says.
Myth: Mammography is not effective at detecting breast cancer.
Truth: Mammography correctly diagnoses about 87 percent of women with breast cancer.
Early diagnosis of breast cancer can also reduce your risk of dying from this disease by 25 to 30 percent. According to Bott, there are many additional benefits to early detection. “Finding breast cancer early through mammograms means that many women who are being treated for breast cancer are able to keep their breasts,” she says. “Localized cancers can be removed without the need for mastectomy, or removal of the breast.”
Myth: Mammograms cost a lot.
Truth: A mammogram will not break the bank, and may even be free.
For women over 40 years of age, annual mammograms are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance companies. For women without insurance, Bott points out that some facilities, like LVHN’s Women’s Breast Health Center at Bartonsville, offer free mammograms for women who are uninsured or underinsured.
Myth: A mammogram hurts.
Truth: A mammogram is nothing to fear.
Anxiety about health tests, like a mammogram, is common. However, Bott assures women that a mammogram is a fast and safe screening. “You should expect very mild, if any, discomfort, and exposure to radiation during the procedure is minimal,” Bott says. “However, I can’t stress enough how important mammography is in saving lives.”