RadiologyInfo.org - For Patients

Mammography Saves Lives (TM) Campaign Helps Clear Confusion on When and How Often Women Should Receive Mammograms

September 8, 2010 | 

Reston, Va. — Women confused about when to have a mammogram have a new interactive source of information — MammographySavesLives.org — launching this week along with a series of public service announcements on television and radio stations across the country.

To clear confusion, reduce unnecessary breast cancer deaths, and help women avoid extensive treatment for advanced cancers that went undetected because they did not get annual mammograms, the American College of Radiology (ACR), the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI), and the American Society of Breast Disease (ASBD) have launched the Mammography Saves Lives™ (MSL) campaign.

The MSL coalition has produced a series of TV and radio public service announcements, featuring breast cancer survivors, diagnosed in their 40s with the aid of mammography, who urge women to begin getting annual mammograms at age 40 and inform them that:

  • Mammography has helped reduce the breast cancer death rate by nearly 1/3 since 1990
  • Mammography can detect cancer early when it's most treatable and can be treated less invasively
  • 3/4 of women diagnosed have no family history of breast cancer or other factors that put them at high risk for developing the disease (so screening only high risk women misses majority of cancers)

The PSAs direct women to www.MammographySavesLives.org where they can:

  • Sign up to receive an annual reminder email to receive a mammogram
  • Find scientific information regarding why they need to start mammography at age 40
  • Hear from leading breast cancer experts why annual mammograms save lives
  • Share their story of breast cancer survival and
  • Find an ACR accredited mammography facility near them

"Mammography has been proven without a doubt to save lives. It is the best tool available to screen for breast cancer. At present, there is nothing to replace it. One in five breast cancers occur in women in their 40s. By not getting a yearly mammogram after age 40, women increase their odds of dying from breast cancer," said Carol H. Lee, MD, chair of the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Commission.

"The ten year risk for breast cancer in a 40 year old woman is 1 in 69 and only increases with age. In European countries like Denmark and Sweden, where screening programs are more organized, the breast cancer death rate has been cut almost in half over the last 20 years. While we have saved and continue to save a significant number of women through mammography, a great many more breast cancer deaths can be avoided if more women would choose to begin annual mammograms at age 40," said Phil Evans, MD, president of the Society of Breast Imaging.

"Mammography helps catch cancer at an earlier stage. This enables physicians to offer women more choices in regards to their treatment, so early detection not only save lives, but it helps preserve quality of life as well. The take home message for women is clear: start getting annual mammograms at age 40," said Gail Lebovic, MD, breast surgeon and president of the American Society of Breast Disease.