Mammogram Myths Busted!

doctor with pink ribbon

We know about the recommendation to get an annual mammogram, but some people have reservations about actually doing it.

Radiologist Dr. Marc Bernstein from SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center offers up the straight facts about getting your annual mammorgram.

MYTH: "I don't need a mammogram because no one in my family has breast cancer."
FACT: Fewer than 10 percent of breast cancers have a genetic link. Most breast cancer patients are the first in their family to have it.

MYTH: "I don't want to be exposed to radiation for an annual mammogram."
FACT: The radiation dose for mammography is extremely low. It is equivalent to about two months of background radiation you would receive from your normal daily activity.

MYTH: "I've heard mammography increases your risk of thyroid cancer."
FACT: Scientific studies do not support the idea that the small amount of radiation from a mammogram can lead to thyroid cancer.
            "Use of a thyroid shield during mammography is not recommended and may increase retakes rather than afford radiation protection of the thyroid," Dr. Bernstein said.

MYTH: "I'm getting an ultrasound or MRI instead of a mammogram."
FACT: There are certain things that the radiologist looks for that can only be seen on mammography.
           "Ultrasound and breast MRI are wonderful tools, but they should be used in conjunction with mammography, not instead of it," Dr. Bernstein said.

MYTH: "I don't have a doctor's order for a mammogram."
FACT: You don't need one!

To schedule an appointment at the Breast Health Center in Rockford, or Belvidere Medical Center, please call (779) 696-7676. To schedule an appointment at Stateline Clinic in Rockton, please call (779) 696-9000.

Dr. Marc Bernstein is a Radiologist at SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center.