National Mammography Day is observed annually on the third Friday in October as part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
This day serves as a reminder to all women that the best defense is early detection. A mammogram can often detect a problem before there is any outward physical sign. Make sure you get your regular checkups.
A mammogram is an X-ray of the mammary glands in the breast. The diagnostic test reveals breast problems, such as lumps and whether any lump is a fluid-filled cyst or a solid mass. Here are some facts about mammograms you might not be aware of.
- Mammography has helped reduce breast cancer mortality in the U.S. by nearly 40% since 1990.
- Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women after skin cancer
- The ten-year risk for breast cancer in a 40 year old woman is 1 in 69.
- 1 in 6 breast cancers occur in women aged 40-49.
- 3/4 of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease and are not considered high risk.
- Even for women 50+, skipping a mammogram every other year would miss up to 30% of cancers.
- Radiation exposure is linked to cancer. But,radiation exposure during a mammogram has never been found to be a cause of breast cancer. Mammograms require very small doses of radiation, and the risk of cancer due to it is low.
- According to the American Cancer Society, women with average breast cancer risk should have more frequent examinations and annual mammograms starting at the age of 40.
- As you age, your risk of breast cancer goes up — most breast cancers are found in women age 55 and older.
- Men can also get breast cancer. In 2017, the American Cancer Society estimates 2,470 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in men in the U.S.
- Women of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage are at higher risk of having BRCA mutation. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends testing for BRCA mutations for Ashkenazi Jewish women if they have a first-degree relative with breast or ovarian cancer or two second-degree relatives on the same side of the family with breast or ovarian cancer.
- A 2017 JAMA study found that in the U.S., younger women with breast cancer are increasingly opting to undergo double mastectomies, even if they were diagnosed with early-stage cancer in only one breast.
- Exercise reduces breast cancer risk for women of all body types — even lean women, according to Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., director of biomarkers of early detection and prevention at City of Hope.
- For every 1,000 women who have a screening mammogram:
- 100 are recalled to get more mammography or ultrasound images
- 20 are recommended for a needle biopsy
- 5 are diagnosed with breast cancer