6 Myths about breast cancer screening
The beginning of October means temperatures are falling and colors everywhere are changing – from the leaves on trees to the colors of your favorite football player’s shoe laces. The color pink sweeps across the country in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month brings a chance to learn more about breast cancer and ways you can reduce your risks or detect cancer as early as possible.
To make sure that you have the right information about breast cancer screening, Village Health Partners wants to clear up six common misconceptions about the process!
MYTH: No one in my family has ever had breast cancer, so I don’t really need to worry.
TRUTH: About 8 out of 10 breast cancers are diagnosed in women who have no family history of the disease.
MYTH: If I’m going to get breast cancer, there’s nothing I can do about it.
TRUTH: Yes, there are things you can do. We know that when breast cancer is found early, while it’s small and before it has spread, the chance of successful treatment is higher. A mammogram can find a tumor when it’s still small. Finding breast cancer early also means that a woman’s chance of saving her breast is better because doctors may be able to remove the tumor and only a small area of nearby tissue.
MYTH: I heard mammograms hurt.
TRUTH: 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. To lessen discomfort, don’t schedule your mammogram during your period or the week before it, when your breasts are most tender. Also, be sure to tell the technologist if you have any pain.
MYTH: If I get a mammogram, they’re going to find breast cancer.
TRUTH: Most mammogram results come back normal. If a suspicious area is found on a mammogram, more tests may be needed to find out what it is. Another mammogram may be done, focusing on the area of concern. A doctor may also use a thin needle to remove fluid or a small amount of tissue from the suspicious area. This is called a biopsy, and it’s the only way to know for sure if the change is caused by cancer.
MYTH: I’ve lived this long without getting breast cancer. Why should I bother getting a mammogram?
TRUTH: Your risk of developing breast cancer goes up as you get older. Most breast cancers diagnosed each year are in women older than 55. Even after you’ve been through menopause, you still need mammograms.
MYTH: These tests cost a lot, and I can’t afford a mammogram.
TRUTH: Medicare, Medicaid, and almost all insurance companies cover screening mammograms. Solis also offers mammograms at a discounted price of $99 for patients with no health insurance.
Don’t forget to schedule your mammogram! Click here to find a Solis location near you.
If you are unsure if you need a mammogram, call (972)954-6401 to schedule an appointment with your Village Health Partners primary care provider.