Myths about Mammograms
August 9, 2022
And Why You Still Need to Get One
It’s a fact – mammograms save lives. Here are the facts about the most common myths we hear.
Myth #1: I don’t have any symptoms, so I don’t need an annual mammogram
FACT: The American College of Radiology advises women to get annual screening mammograms starting at age 40. The reason is simple: Yearly mammograms are more likely to diagnose cancers that are smaller and less advanced. That’s important because the American Cancer Society reports that early-stage breast cancer has a five-year survival rate of 99%.
Myth #2: I can get cancer from a mammogram’s radiation
FACT: Just like an X-ray, mammograms use radiation. But they are safe as long as your mammography technologist follows safety standards like we do at Grady. A mammogram uses a small dose of radiation – about the same amount you’re exposed to by just walking around. Plus, the benefits of a mammogram are far greater than this risk.
Myth #3: Mammograms are painful
FACT: Mammograms can be uncomfortable. Squeezing the breast (even briefly) minimizes layers of overlapping tissue and results in clearer images. If you’re worried, it’s best to let your mammography tech know.
Myth #4: All mammograms are the same
FACT: There are real differences between two-dimensional mammograms and new three-dimensional mammography. Grady offers three-dimensional digital mammograms, which create an image of the breast using images from different angles. 3D mammograms are better able to find more cancers and reduce the number of false positives.
Myth #5: My mammogram was normal last year, so I can skip it this year
FACT: Mammograms only detect cancers, not prevent them. The reason to get an annual mammogram is to find cancer early when it’s more treatable.
Don’t Believe the Myths
If you find a lump, have breast pain or nipple discharge, you should talk with your doctor first. If you don’t have a doctor, Grady can help. If you need a primary care physician, book your appointment online at gradyhealth.org, use MyChart, or call (404) 616-1000. We’ll arrange an appointment at a Primary Care Center near you. Doctors there can treat most conditions and provide access to Grady’s unparalleled medical specialty expertise.