5 Facts About Mammograms

Mammograms are a crucial part of women’s health, but misinformation surrounding them can lead to anxiety.

Here, the experts at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital and Keck Medicine’s USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center share 5 facts about mammograms to help ease fears about the process.

  1. For all mammograms, compression is needed. Compression holds the breast in place, separates overlapping tissue to reveal small, hidden masses and makes less radiation necessary to get a clear, complete image.
  2. The discomfort is brief and often manageable. The consensus among most mammogram patients is that they’re uncomfortable — but only briefly.
  3. There are two types of mammograms: 2D and 3D. A 2D mammogram takes separate photos, while the 3D X-ray glides in an arc around the compressed breast, capturing more images in less time.
  4. It’s recommended to start mammograms at age 40. If you have risk factors such as family history of breast cancer, your doctor may want you to start earlier.
  5. Mammograms save lives. Mammography is the best tool available to screen for breast cancer, and early detection saves lives.