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.
- 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.
- The discomfort is brief and often manageable. The consensus among most mammogram patients is that they’re uncomfortable — but only briefly.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mammograms save lives. Mammography is the best tool available to screen for breast cancer, and early detection saves lives.