Ladies! Why are we killing ourselves?

One out of four women over the age of 40 has failed to receive a mammogram in the past two years. This is a dangerous trend! None of us have immunity to this disease. If diagnosed too late lives are at risk.


When should begin getting mammograms? According to the National Cancer Institute, should receive first mammogram at the age of 35. After the age of 40, should receive mammograms every year. Combined with a yearly clinical breast exam and monthly self-breast exam, mammograms are very effective at detecting breast cancer early. The earlier detected the better your chance of survival.

What happens during a mammogram? Your breasts are examined between two glass plates with the use of X-rays during a mammogram. There are two types of mammograms: screening mammogram and diagnostic mammogram. Screening mammograms detect changes in your breast and diagnostic mammograms diagnose those changes. During a routine doctor's visit, the mammogram you receive will be a screening mammogram.

How can yearly mammograms help you? Women who receive yearly mammograms decrease their chances of dying from breast cancer. As you get older, the benefit of mammograms increases. According to the National Cancer Institute, women over 50 reduce chance of death by 30 percent; women in their 40's reduce their chances by 17 percent.

What is your chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer?

Here are some statistics from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program and American Cancer Society, 1994-1996.

Age Odds
30's 1 in 2,212
40's 1 in 235
50's 1 in 54
60's 1 in 23
70's 1 in 14
80's 1 in 10

Women with personal and family history of breast cancer have an increased risk of obtaining the disease. In addition, women who had children for the first time over the age of 30, women who began menstruating before the age of 12 and women undergoing hormone therapy are also at risk. It is advisable for women with these risk factors to consult their doctors about being screened early.

Why should I receive a mammogram? If this isn't enough to convince you to get your yearly mammogram, a recent study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Cardiology suggests mammograms are effective in detecting women who are at risk of heart disease. Not only can mammograms prevent you from dying of breast cancer; they can reduce your risk of heart disease.

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