What are the risks of undergoing a Mammography

Mammography, a specialized form of X-ray imaging, serves to detect breast diseases, particularly cancer, in their early stages. Concerns about radiation exposure during mammography persist, yet modern screening equipment emits minimal radiation, posing an extremely low risk of cancer development. In fact, the radiation exposure from mammograms is lower than that encountered during intercontinental flights or high-altitude skiing.

Routine screening mammograms, typically starting at ages 40–50, even for individuals with personal or familial cancer histories, are deemed safe. While there are potential risks associated with mammography, they are generally outweighed by the benefits. False positive results, occurring in about 5–15% of cases, may necessitate further testing, though subsequent findings are often normal. Pregnancy should be disclosed prior to mammography due to potential fetal radiation exposure.

For women with breast implants, there’s a rare risk of implant displacement or rupture during mammography, necessitating surgical intervention if it occurs. Additionally, there’s a slight chance of false-negative results, especially in younger women, where cancer may not be detected despite appearing normal on the mammogram.

Despite these risks, mammography remains a vital tool for early breast cancer detection. Avoiding mammography due to these rare risks would be unwise, as the benefits of early detection far outweigh the potential downsides.