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Mammograms save lives

October 2016

Do you know someone who survived breast cancer?  There's a good chance that a 30-minute breast health exam or mammogram played a part in saving them. 

Cancer is most easily treated and cured when it is discovered in an early stage. Mammograms do not prevent breast cancer or reduce a woman's risk of developing cancer. But for women ages 40 to 70, mammograms may help reduce deaths from breast cancer.

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast that is used to screen for breast cancer. Mammograms can find tumors that are too small for you or your doctor to feel. There are several types of mammograms including:

  • Standard mammogram, which puts images of the breast on film.
  • Digital mammogram, which puts images of the breast into an electronic file. This allows your doctor to see different views of the breast without taking more images.
  • 3-D mammogram, which uses both digital mammogram and breast tomosynthesis. Breast tomosynthesis puts three-dimensional images of the breast into an electronic file. Using 3-D images with a digital mammogram allows your doctor to see breast tissue very clearly.

Here are two powerful stories of young women who won the battle against breast cancer with the help of doctors, caregivers and breast health screenings at PeaceHealth:

Carla, an active 40-year-old, was surprised when her first mammogram revealed cancer, especially since she had no family history and no warning signs.  Read Carla's story.

Sue, a mother of three and long-time worker in a PeaceHealth breast center, also credits a routine mammogram for finding her breast cancer early. Read Sue's story. 

Is a mammogram right for you? Talk to your doctor, especially if you have more than a few risk factors for the disease. You can also use this breast cancer screening decision tool to weigh when you should start having mammograms.

Breast screenings typically take just 30 minutes. Considering the lives that have been saved, that's time well spent. 

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