Five Things to Know About Mammograms

Talk to your health care provider to determine your screening schedule.

By: Lucinda Prue, Mammography Technologist

Over the last couple of years there has been some misleading information in the media concerning screening mammograms. How old should you be to have a mammogram? How often should you schedule the examination?

Although this is an important conversation to have with your health care provider here are a few facts from a website supported by the American College of Radiology, the Society of Breast Imaging and the American Society of Breast Disease:

  • Mammography has helped reduce breast cancer mortality in the U.S. by nearly 30% since 1990.
  • The 10 year risk for breast cancer in a 40-year-old woman is 1 in 69.
  • Of all the years of life saved by mammography, 40% are for women in their 40’s.
  • ¾ of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease and are not considered at risk.
  • Even for women age 50+, a mammogram every other year could miss up to 30% of breast cancers.

For additional information visit

Annual mammograms can detect breast cancer early – when it is most treatable.
In fact, mammograms show changes in the breast up to two years before a woman or her physician can feel them. Mammograms can also prevent the need for extensive treatment for advanced cancers and improve chances of breast conservation.

Current guidelines from the American College of Radiology, the American Cancer Society and the Society for Breast Imaging recommend that women at average risk for breast cancer receive yearly mammograms starting at age 40 – even if they have no symptoms or family history of breast cancer. Women with a strong family history of breast cancer are at an increased risk for developing the disease and may want to begin screening mammography before age 40.

Talk to your health care provider to determine your screening schedule. Deciding when to stop yearly screening for mature women should also be decided by you and your health care provider.

Meriter offers screening mammography at the Monona Clinic. The technologists who perform the examination are compassionate as well as highly trained professionals. Be assured that your mammogram will be tailored to meet your individual needs providing you with a positive experience.

To schedule your screening mammogram call 608-417-6288.

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