Busting Myths About Mammography

Many people are aware that mammograms are an essential health screening for women. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of misconceptions about mammography and its role in facilitating early cancer care. You can always turn to your physician for accurate, credible information about breast cancer screenings and cancer care. Your physician can let you know when it’s a good idea to start scheduling routine screening mammograms at West Hills Hospital.

Myth: All Women Should be Screened at Age 50

There are several guidelines for screening mammograms. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that women begin having mammograms at age 50, whereas other guidelines recommend screening starting at age 40. However, some women are at a higher risk of requiring cancer care for breast cancer and may be advised to begin having screenings at a younger age. In short, women can consult their primary care physicians regarding their risk factors and when they should begin having mammograms.

Myth: Mammograms Are Always Painful

Some women delay having mammograms because of the misconception that they always hurt. Mammograms do require slight compression of the breast and this may cause some temporary discomfort. However, the compression shouldn’t hurt. Radiologists often advise women to schedule mammograms for a time of month during which their breasts are typically less sensitive.

Myth: Mammograms Aren’t Necessary if I’m Not at Risk of Cancer

It is possible for anyone to develop breast cancer—even men. Many women feel that if they lack a family history of breast cancer, they can delay having mammograms or avoid them altogether. Although a family history of the disease is indeed a risk factor, the majority of women who develop breast cancer do not have a close relative with the disease.

If you have any concerns about your upcoming mammography appointment, the highly trained clinical radiologists at the Women’s Diagnostic Center of West Hills Hospital are here to help. In the event that your mammography and subsequent tests do reveal breast cancer, you can receive a full range of cancer care services at our community hospital in West Hills. To speak with a registered nurse about our cancer care, call (818) 676-4321.