SPOKANE, Wash. — Some women may still be apprehensive to get mammograms because they have heard the test may not be worth the hassle and can hurt, but new 3-D technology has made a difference.
Mammograms can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer and knowing the truth about screening could help save lives.
Breast cancer isn't what it was 20 years ago. Survival rates are climbing thanks to greater awareness and advances in treatment. There is also a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to screening.
Family history seems to come in first place.
“Unfortunately that's one of the most common myths about breast cancer that I actually see in my clinic. Is women who will say "I have no family history of breast cancer. And actually most women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of breast cancer which is why it is so important to get your annual screening mammogram,” Rachel O'Connor, a doctor at the MultiCare Rockwood Breast Health Center said.
“It allows us to get a clearer picture of the breast, where we can see it in smaller pieces, so that we find more cancer with it, about 40% more cancers can be detected with it, and there is also about 40% less callbacks as well, you get benefits from both sides,” O'Connor said.
Now, a small amount of breast compression and squeezing is necessary to get a good picture and accurate reading. However, with new imaging there is also less discomfort.
Mammograms shouldn't be painful, the nice thing about the 3-D mammography is that research up to 30% less compression can be used and this small amount of pressure will not cause cancer.
“In terms of compression there is no scientific evidence to support that compression can cause the spread of cancer or anything like that, that's a myth,” O'Connor said.
Regular mammograms are the best tests doctors have to find breast cancer early sometimes up to three years before it can be felt and patients do not need a doctor’s prescription to schedule your appointment.