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7 Mammogram Myths and Facts

Mammograms are a source of anxiety for many women. The truth is, they’re not always as scary as you might think. Unfortunately, some myths about mammography have been spread in an effort to scare women into thinking that mammograms are dangerous. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of facts and myths about mammograms, to ease your anxiety and weed out misinformation

1. Mammograms are unnecessary.

Myth

You may have heard that mammograms are unnecessary. In fact, the American Cancer Society recommends annual mammograms for women aged 40 and older who have no personal history of breast cancer or genetic mutation that puts them at high risk. Mammograms may also be recommended for younger women with a family history of breast cancer or dense breasts.

2. Wearing deodorant can make the results inaccurate.

Fact

The truth is that deodorant can interfere with the accuracy of your breast x-ray and mammogram. Many women are unaware that the chemicals in deodorants may cause problems for their screening, so they don’t consider it when preparing for their appointment. If you want to be sure that you aren’t wearing any deodorant on the day of your screening, it’s best to avoid putting it on before going into the clinic as well.

3. Having fibrocystic breasts means you don’t have to have a mammogram.

Myth

Fibrocystic breast changes are a benign condition that occurs in about 50% of women. This means that your breasts will feel lumpy and dense, but they’re not cancerous. It’s important to know how to differentiate between fibrocystic breast changes and cancerous tumors since you should still have a mammogram even if you have fibrocystic breasts. 

4. Your breast implants will interfere with mammogram results.

Fact

If you have breast implants, your mammogram results may appear differently than those of someone whose breasts do not contain an implant. This means that a doctor might need to perform a different type of x-ray or ultrasound test on you to get the same level of detail in their mammogram. If you do have implants, it’s important to let your doctor know this before they start the procedure so they can make sure they’re using the right equipment and techniques for imaging them.

5. A lump in your breast means cancer.

Myth

One of the most common myths is that a lump in your breast means cancer, which isn’t always true. A breast lump can be caused by anything from a cyst or benign tumor to cancer, but it’s not always cancer. Lumps can also be caused by trauma. In short: don’t panic if you find a lump in your breast; try not to freak out about it either. Benign lumps are far more common than malignant tumors.

6. A mammogram is just like any other x-ray, so there’s no risk involved.

Fact

  • Mammograms are safe, effective and can save your life.
  • Mammograms are not dangerous, painful or the reason that cancer spreads through the body.
  • A positive test result is not an immediate death sentence.

7. Only women with a family history of breast cancer should be concerned about the disease.

Myth

Many women don’t know that the American Cancer Society recommends that all women over age 40 get a mammogram every year. For those at high risk for breast cancer (such as those with a family history of the disease), the ACS suggests beginning screening at an earlier age and increasing frequency until menopause.

The best way to protect yourself from breast cancer is to get regular screenings. We now have in-house mammogram services at our Garden Grove location. Visit our appointments page to request an appointment with one of our providers. For more information on ways to stay healthy check out our other blog posts. Families Together also offers an array of classes that can help you stay active and healthy, including Strength Training and Karate. You can view our full schedule of classes on our Events page. More information about our Wellness Services can be found on our Wellness page. Please call 1(800) 597-7977 ext. 507 for more information on any Wellness program.