It's Time to Overcome These Excuses for Delaying Your Mammogram
Helen Pass, MD, Director of Breast Surgery and Co-Director, Breast Center and Moira O'Riordan, MD, Director of Women's Imaging and Co-Director, Breast Center
Everyone has a different excuse for avoiding their yearly mammogram. Here are our thoughts on some of the most common ones.
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1. “I’m too busy!”
We can sympathize. Fortunately, Stamford Health offers convenient appointment times at Tully Health Center, Darien Imaging Center, Wilton Imaging Center and Greenwich Imaging Center. With evening and walk-in appointments available, and weekend hours for some locations, we can certainly help you schedule this important procedure, especially if it's your first mammogram with us!
2. “I’m afraid of what we might find.”
We completely understand the anxiety involved in waiting for your results. Because your time counts, we're committed to providing you with results right before you leave your appointment, if within standard business hours. We will swiftly provide results the next business day for off-hour or weekend appointments. If needed, we'll also offer you a breast ultrasound right then and there, or try our best to schedule you for a same-day breast biopsy.
3. “I can skip this year because I've had normal mammograms every year so far.”
Some breast cancers grow and spread quickly, and others more slowly—no one can predict how one specific cancer will behave. Since the best hope for cure is early detection, it’s in your best interest to get a mammogram every year. Remember, your risk increases significantly at age 40 and continues to rise as you get older.
4. “I'm afraid of the radiation.”
Yes, mammograms use low-dose radiation, but one fact remains true: mammography has helped reduce breast cancer mortality in the U.S. by 30% since 1990.
An overall healthy woman's lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is 1 in 8 (12%). The risk of dying from cancer due to the radiation exposure from mammography in a woman aged 40 years is 1 in 70,000 and this risk declines rapidly with age.
Obviously, any unlikely risks of radiation exposure from mammograms far outweigh the benefits of making them part of your yearly wellness plan.
5. “I can't afford it.”
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, as long as you meet certain qualifications.
As always, use these guidelines when talking with your doctor about getting a mammogram.