The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about mammography and breast imaging:
- How much radiation do my breasts receive with a mammogram?
The amount of radiation is extremely minimal and is comparable to the amount of radiation your entire body receives from the sun during a 1000 mile plane trip.
- What’s the difference between a screening and diagnostic mammogram?
A screening exam is done on a woman without any breast complaints; a diagnostic exam is done when the woman or her caregiver report a new finding.
- When should I start getting regular mammograms?
Most organizations recommend yearly screening mammograms for all average risk woman beginning at age 40.
- When should I stop getting mammograms?
With women living longer, there is no specific recommended age to stop getting mammograms. If you are in reasonably good health, you should continue getting yearly mammograms.
- If no one in my family has breast cancer, why do I need to get mammograms?
Up to 85 percent of breast cancers are random and occur in women with no family history of or specific risk factor for breast cancer.
- How often is breast cancer genetic?
Less than 15 percent of breast cancers have known genetic links and only about five percent have a detectable gene mutation such as the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 gene mutations.
- If I’m diagnosed with breast cancer, what are my chances of surviving?
Most people diagnosed with breast cancer do not die of their disease. If found early, breast cancers can be curable more than 95 percent of the time.
- What has the survival rate from breast cancer done over time?
The survival rate from breast cancer has increased by about two percent per year over the last 10-15 years, mostly as a result of early detection on mammograms.
- What does it mean if I get asked to come back for additional imaging?
Call back imaging is usually done to clarify a finding on your screening exam. Most of the time, the finding is cleared up and you go back to regular annual screening.
- If a biopsy is recommended, does this mean that I have cancer?
Sixty to seventy percent of biopsies result in a benign (non-cancerous) results.