Published on October 26, 2016

Top 10 Reasons to Get a Mammogram

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

Dr. David Gruen and Dr. Helen Pass, Stamford Health Breast CenterYou’ve heard it before and will likely hear it again: mammograms save lives.

While several reports this past year created some confusion about mammograms, several facts remain certain.

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  1. One fact remains irrefutable: mammography has helped reduce breast cancer mortality in the U.S. by 30% since 1990.
  2. We recommend that women begin yearly mammography screening at 40. The risk of breast cancer increases significantly beginning at this age and continues to rise as you get older. As breast care physicians, we see women diagnosed with breast cancer in their 20’s, 30’s, and at every age thereafter.
  3. There is no upper age limit 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.
  4. Yearly mammography is recommended because 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.
  5. More than 3 out of every 4 women diagnosed (75-85%) have no family history or known risk factors. So 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.
  6. At Stamford Hospital, we recognize the anxiety associated with waiting for your mammogram result. That is why we provide same day results and perform additional imaging (when needed and if approved by your ordering physician) for patients 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 technology provides significantly more detailed information than traditional mammography.
  7. Tomosynthesis has improved our cancer detection rate by more than 50%.
  8. 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.
  9. Do not let financial concerns keep you from getting your mammogram. Stamford Hospital offers free mammography for those who are uninsured or whose insurance does not cover breast cancer screening. Our Breast Center team works closely with the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (CBCCEDP) to increase the number of women who receive screening, diagnosis and treatment. Certain eligibility criteria must be met.
  10. Women always take care of everyone else. Take time to take care of yourself. Do not let being too busy be an excuse to skip your yearly mammogram. Stamford Hospital offers same-day results during business hours,* as well as late and weekend appointments.

Breast Imaging Center Hours are as Follows:

Tully Health Center:

  • Monday-Friday: 8am-8pm
  • Saturday-Sunday 8am-4pm

Darien Imaging Center:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 8am-4:30pm
  • Tuesday and Thursday: 8am-8pm
  • Saturday: 8am-12pm

Wilton Imaging Center:

  • Monday-Friday: 8am-8pm
  • Saturday-Sunday 8am-4pm

*Results will be given while you wait during business hours (8am to 4pm, Monday through Friday). If your mammogram takes place after hours, you'll have your results the next business day.

Remember, in breast cancer care, choose wisely.

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