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Are Mammograms Safe? The Benefits and Risks of a Breast Screening

Are mammograms safe

 

You may know that the risk of developing breast cancer in a woman’s lifetime is around 13%. What you may not know, though, is that breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death among women in the US. 

The good news is that getting screened for breast cancer improves the chances of discovering it early. Mammograms even play a role in preventing breast cancer-related deaths and reducing the need for chemotherapy. 

Still, you may wonder: are mammograms safe? Keep reading to learn about the benefits and potential risks of breast screenings.

The Benefits of Breast Screenings

8 in 10 women who have breast cancer don’t have a family history of it. That’s why PINK recommends women receive a baseline mammogram between the ages of 35 and 40. After age 40, women should receive a mammogram every 12 months. This is because breast cancer is highly treatable when detected in its early states. Insurance plans, including Medicare, cover the complete cost of a mammogram without a copay or deductible. NJ insurance plans also cover the cost of a breast ultrasound screening for women who have dense breast tissue, although there may be a copay or deductible.

For women who are at a higher risk of breast cancer or are 40 years or younger, consult your physician about how often you should get a mammogram. Women who feel a new lump in their breast should immediately consult their doctor about a diagnostic mammogram.

Getting a screening mammogram improves breast cancer survival rates by up to 25%. Mammograms can catch cancer in its earliest stages. That lets physicians treat the cancer with techniques that are less disruptive to your life, and have fewer side effects, than if the cancer is found later. 

Best of all, getting mammograms gives you peace of mind.  PINK Breast Center has the first FDA approved Artificial Intelligence enhanced mammograms in North/Central Jersey. At PINK, you will have the most advanced screening.

The Potential Risks of Mammograms

The primary risks of mammograms are false positives and false negatives.

False positives occur when a mammogram is positive for breast cancer, but the patient doesn’t have cancer. False negatives occur when a mammogram fails to detect breast cancer even though the patient does have breast cancer. 

Women with dense breast tissue are most vulnerable to both false positives and negatives. This is because dense tissue may hide a cancer. Today, though, mammography and breast ultrasound are getting better at ruling out false results. That’s why the American Cancer Society continues to recommend yearly mammograms, beginning at age 40. 

You may be worried about over diagnosis. With over diagnoses, a screening identifies a potential breast cancer, but when the lesion is biopsied, no health risk is found. Since all cancers started small, the trade off is to find and treat small cancers before they become a larger problem, while avoiding biopsies for benign lesions.

Are Mammograms Safe?

Any mammogram exposes patients to some radiation. Many women are concerned that the levels of radiation from a mammogram might expose patients to health risks. 

Feel at ease, because the FDA highly regulates mammography. Any facility that offers breast screenings must receive an FDA accreditation. Part of that accreditation includes undergoing frequent evaluations for compliance with the Mammography Quality Standards Act

PINK exclusively uses Siemens mammography, which generates a low radiation dosage. Since the radiation dosage is printed on every screening exam, PINK can continually confirm PINK generates a lower radiation dosage than sites that do not use Siemens mammography. New PINK patients are often surprised to see their PINK mammogram exposes them to less radiation than recent exams elsewhere, often one third or even one half less.

When to Schedule a Mammogram in New Jersey

So, what’s the bottom line? Are mammograms safe? Breast screenings using mammography equipment that is FDA accredited, are absolutely safe for your health. The choice to visit PINK is a choice to reduce your risk even further. More importantly, yearly mammograms are vital to staying healthy as you get older. 

Would you prefer a place to get your annual breast screening that’s more personalized than your hospital’s imaging center? Then you need to schedule an appointment with PINK

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