Day 17 of Pink: : Gwinnett Medical Center Dispels Mammograms Myths

The importance of mammograms and early detection of breast cancer cannot be overstated. At Gwinnett Medical Center, they know that having regular mammograms can find breast cancer at its earliest stages, when treatments are most effective. But despite this knowledge, a lot of women don’t take advantage of mammogram testing that could save their lives due to fear and myths surrounding mammograms. With the help of Gwinnett Medical Center, we are going to dispel some of those myths!


Myth 1: My insurance won’t cover it

Mammograms are considered a preventative service, which are often covered 100 percent by most insurance plans, without any cost-sharing like deductibles or co-payments. However, each insurance policy is different, so be sure to check that yours covers mammograms. Also, for women over 40, Medicare will pay for a mammogram screening every 12 months.

Myth 2: It will hurt too badly

While the test has been called uncomfortable, few women would describe it as painful. During a mammogram, your breast is placed on a platform and is compressed with a plastic paddle. The compression is necessary to even out the breast tissue so that lower doses of X-rays are used. The American Cancer Society suggests that women receive their mammogram a week after their menstrual cycle, when the breast is the least tender. Also, the actual X-ray portion of the test lasts close to one minute per breast. And, of course, if it hurts, let your technician know!

Myth 3: I am busy and don’t have time for a mammogram

On average, the basic test lasts 15 to 20 minutes from start to finish. Even a diagnostic mammogram, which takes additional X-rays from other angles, only takes 30 to 45 minutes. Mammogram tests are too short to use time as an excuse not to get one.

Myth 4: I am young; breast cancer can’t affect me yet

Breast cancer can affect women at any age. Before the age of 40, one in 231 women will get breast cancer. And the risk only gets higher as you age. Breast cancer doesn’t care how old you are.

Myth 5: Breast cancer runs in my family, there is nothing I can do about it

While your risk of getting breast cancer is greater if you have a family history, women who have high risk can take steps to reduce their chance of getting it. They can stop smoking, exercise regularly, take certain medications and receive regular mammograms. Gwinnett Medical Center also offers hereditary cancer risk assessment services with a certified cancer risk counselor. For more information, call 678-312-3235.

Myth 6: The radiation from the test will give me cancer

Today, the level of radiation received during a mammogram is extremely low. It is basically the same amount that a woman would get over three months in her regular life. This issue has been studied for years, and experts have seen no increased breast cancer risk associated with radiation received during a mammogram.

Now that you know the facts and importance of receiving regular mammograms, don’t miss your yearly exam! Call 678-967-4513 today to schedule your mammogram at one of Gwinnett Medical Center’s convenient locations in Lawrenceville, Duluth and Hamilton Mill.

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