Mammogram Myths and Facts

Myth: I only need a mammogram if I have a family history of breast cancer.

Fact: Most breast cancers – 90 percent – appear in women with no family history.

Myth: I’m too young to get a mammogram.

Fact: While most breast cancers occur in women over the age of 55, the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends all women should begin having yearly mammograms by age 45, and can change to having mammograms every other year beginning at age 55.

Myth: The radiation used for a mammogram will put me at risk for breast cancer.

Fact: A mammogram uses radiation, but not enough to cause cancer. You receive more radiation walking through airport security than by having a mammogram.

Myth: Mammograms are very painful.

Fact: Most women find mammograms uncomfortable, but not painful. You may want to take an over-the-counter pain reliever an hour before your appointment, and avoid scheduling one right before your period.

Myth: I don’t have any lumps, so I don’t need a mammogram.

Fact: If you wait until you feel a lump or have discharge, your cancer may be more difficult to treat. According to the ACS, people who are diagnosed early have a five-year survival rate of 99 percent; that number drops to 24 percent among those with a late-stage diagnosis.

Talk to your doctor about when to schedule your mammogram.

If you need to find an in-network doctor, use the Horizon Blue app or visit Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey wants you to get the care you need when you need it.

Sources: American Cancer Society, Johns Hopkins Medicine, WebMD®

Published on: October 29, 2019, 03:53 AM ET
Last updated on: December 13, 2019, 02:44 AM ET