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Do I really need a mammogram every year?

LaurieHelmer_PhotoBy: Laurie Helmer, Mammography Technologist I’m always surprised by just how often I hear that question. I’ve worked as a mammography technologist for a little over two years. During that time, I’ve heard countless women say, “I read or heard that you really don’t need a mammogram every year.” Or, others who say “no one in my family has breast cancer so I don’t need a mammogram every year.” So when I hear those statements or am asked that question, here’s what I say:

  • The American Cancer Society recommends that all women 40 and over get a screening mammogram every year.
  • My mother and both of my grandmothers never had breast cancer.
  • I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 49. My sister was diagnosed at 46.
  • Both my sister and I always had normal mammograms.
  • Since our cancers were caught early, we are both just fine. Thank goodness we didn’t wait for two years – or more – between our mammograms.
  • Getting a mammogram is usually free. The Affordable Care Act ensures that all health insurance plans cover a yearly exam. That’s how important this screening is.
  • Most important, breast cancer – when it’s caught early – is highly treatable and curable.

Simply put, an annual mammogram is your best bet at catching cancer early when it’s most treatable. Mammograms typically take 30 minutes or less and honestly, as a woman and a medical professional, they don’t hurt like their reputation claims. Every day, I’m proud to witness how the staff and technologists at Wake Radiology put women at ease and help them through this simple, life-saving procedure. So, if you’ve asked yourself that question or made a similar statement, I encourage you to get checked. Don’t wait. Don’t worry. And, make a personal commitment to yourself that you’ll get a mammogram every year. You can schedule your annual screening mammogram today by clicking here or by calling 919-247-3200. If you’re interested in having a 3D mammogram, we now offer this technology at four locations: Raleigh-North Hill, Cary, Chapel Hill and Garner.

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