10 Reasons to Get a Mammogram Now
By David Gruen, MD, MBA, Director of Women’s Imaging & Co-Director, Breast Center and Helen Pass, MD, Director of Breast Surgery and Co-Director, Breast Center
You’ve heard it before and will likely hear it again: mammograms save lives. Here's why this one appointment is too important to put off.
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- One fact remains irrefutable: mammography has helped reduce breast cancer related deaths in the U.S. by 30% since 1990.
- You really should begin yearly mammography screening at 40. The risk of breast cancer increases significantly beginning at age 40 and continues to rise as you get older.
- You're never "too old" to get a mammogram. Since mammograms find breast cancer on an average about 5 years earlier than they can be felt, we recommend that women over 70 continue to get annual mammograms as long as their general health is good.
- Why yearly? Finding early stage breast cancer allows more treatment options and a better opportunity for long term survival. Early detection allows for much less aggressive treatment and can often be easily completed as an outpatient.
- More than 3 out of every 4 women diagnosed (75-85%) have no family history or known risk factors. That means, even if there is no history of breast cancer in your family, you are still at risk! Remember, an average American woman has a 1 in 8 lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. This is all the more reason to get a mammogram.
- We recognize the anxiety associated with waiting for your mammogram results. That is why we provide same-day results and perform additional imaging if needed for women having their breast imaging during standard business hours. Stamford Health’s Breast Center was the first in the region to offer digital breast tomosynthesis, or 3D mammograms, to ALL women, and we will continue to do so. This type of imaging detects breast cancer at an earlier stage with fewer false positives.
- In addition to detecting breast cancer earlier and eliminating some false positives, 3D mammography has improved our cancer detection rate by more than 50%.
- Jarring, but true: Connecticut has the highest per capita incidence of breast cancer in the country. That is why these recommendations are slightly more proactive than those of some national organizations, but are the same as those from the American College of Radiology, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the American Medical Association and The National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
- Take time to take care:
Don’t let financial concerns stop you. Through the support of community grants, Stamford Hospital is able to provide mammograms to anyone who is uninsured or whose insurance does not cover breast cancer screening, as long as you qualify.
Don’t let being too busy be an excuse for skipping your yearly mammogram. For your convenience, Stamford Hospital offers evening and weekend appointments with results given the next business day. Choose from Breast Center locations in Stamford, Darien, Wilton and now Greenwich.
10. We were the first Accredited Center in the U.S. to be recognized by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), and remain the only accredited program in the Stamford-Norwalk area. We are also the recipient of the Gold Prize for the CT Quality Improvement Award.