Monday, October 21, 2013

Mammograms Save Lives

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The third Friday in October is National Mammography Day - first proclaimed by President Clinton in 1999 – when there is a special emphasis on encouraging women to make an appointment for a mammography.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Every woman has a 12% risk of developing breast cancer during her lifetime.  The risk increases to 20-30 % if she has a family history of breast cancer and to 60-90% if she has the genetic BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. Yet, 3 out of 4 women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease and are not considered high risk. Breast cancer is clearly a disease that should concern all women.

Breast cancer becomes more common as a woman grows older, and one out of six breast cancers occur in women ages 40-49. The American College of Radiology, the American Cancer Society, and the Society for Breast Imaging recommend that women begin getting annual mammograms at age 40.

The objective of mammography is early detection of breast cancer, which can frequently be cured if it is found when it is small and has not spread to other parts of the body. Mammograms can detect changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. There has been a 1/3 reduction in breast cancer deaths since mammography screening became widespread in 1990.

Modern mammography is effective and safe.  The radiation exposure from a mammogram is comparable to the exposure that adults receive from seven weeks of naturally occurring background exposure from natural sources and is considered by to provide very low additional lifetime fatal cancer risk. Mammography’s proven benefits of early detection and cure far outweigh any minimal radiation risk.  Digital mammography at Holy Name Medical Center is accredited by the American College of Radiology and certified by the Food and Drug Administration.

According to Joshua Gross, MD, Medical Director of Breast Imaging at Holy Name Medical Center, when the diagnosis is breast cancer, the first questions asked are: When was the last mammogram?  Could this cancer have been caught earlier?

Don’t wait. Schedule a mammography today!

To learn more about Holy Name Breast Health Services, call 1-877-Holy-Name (1-877-465-9626) or visit:
To request a free copy of “Coping with Breast Cancer: A Husband’s Perspective,” visit: