Why have a mammogram
- Mammography is the best way to find breast cancer early. More When breast cancer is found early, there are more treatment options available, a better chance for treatment success and reduced risk that the cancer will return.(1)
- Most women who have a mammogram will not have breast cancer and only a small number may need additional tests. More In Canada, about 1 out of 215 women who go for a mammogram as part of a provincial screening program will be diagnosed with breast cancer. (2)
- Regular mammograms may help you feel less worried. More Mammogram results that show breast cancer is not present may provide peace of mind.
- Mammograms reduce a woman's risk of dying of breast cancer. More The goal of having mammograms at regular intervals as part of a screening program is to detect breast cancer early, when it is small and is less likely to have spread. (3)
- Not every breast cancer that is found can be treated or cured. More Some cancers found through mammography cannot be cured. Finding out about a breast cancer that cannot be cured could cause stress and anxiety.
- Some breast cancers detected may not be life threatening, but may still lead to invasive treatment. More Mammograms may detect some breast cancers that will never become harmful, such as those that are slow growing and may never progress to produce symptoms or cause harm over a woman’s lifetime. It is difficult to determine which cancers will be harmful and which will not, so all are treated as possibly harmful. This may mean that women have surgery or treatment for breast cancer that would never have been life-threatening. For every breast cancer found, approximately 1-10% are non-life threatening.(4)
- Mammograms are not perfect and may not find a breast cancer that is present. Breast screening does not prevent breast cancer, but it can find it when it is already there. More No screening test is perfect and mammograms may miss some breast cancers. Breast cancer may develop before the first mammogram or in the time between screening appointments and this is one reason it is important to consider screening regularly.
- Women are recalled for further testing for many reasons, and this can cause worry and stress. In most cases, breast cancer is not found.