Myth: A mammogram can cause breast cancer or spread it
Here’s The Truth
A mammogram, or x-ray of the breast, currently remains the gold standard for the early detection of breast cancer. During a mammogram, the breast tissue is compressed to reduce the thickness of the breast in order to get high-quality x-ray images. Neither the compression of the breast required for a mammogram nor the amount of radiation used in a screening mammogram causes cancer or causes cancer to spread. In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute, the benefits of early detection of breast cancer through mammography far outweigh any potential risks.
The standard recommendation is an annual mammogram screening for women beginning at age 40. However, talk to your healthcare provider about any breast cancer risk factors you may have to determine if you should start receiving mammograms before age 40.
National Breast Cancer Foundation provides free mammograms through our partner facilities via our National Mammography Program. Search for a partner facility and schedule a free mammogram today.
Medically reviewed June 2023