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Exposing misconceptions about mammograms

October 20, 2022 

Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, Wis.  –  One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Overwhelming evidence shows screening mammograms can help detect breast cancer early which allows for more treatment options and potentially less invasive treatments.

There are two main types of mammography: 2D digital mammograms and 3D mammograms, also called digital breast tomosynthesis.

A 2D mammogram creates a 2D image of each breast using x-ray images. Typically, two pictures are taken of each breast – one from the left side and one from above.

A 3D mammogram, which is now considered the standard of care, creates a 3D image of each breast using several x-rays from multiple angles around the breast. Studies from numerous organizations have found 3D mammograms detect more cancers than traditional 2D mammograms, and they reduce the number of false positive results. A 3D mammogram may also provide a clearer image of abnormalities in dense breasts.

HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals’ mammography technologists say there are several misconceptions about mammography.


  • I don’t have any symptoms of breast cancer and it does not run in my family, so I don’t need a mammogram.


  • Only 15% of women with a breast cancer diagnosis have a family member who has a history of breast cancer. The American College of Radiology says if you wait to have a mammogram until you have symptoms, such as a lump or discharge, the cancer may be more advanced and harder to treat.


  • If you had a normal mammogram last year you don’t need another one this year.


  • Mammography is detection, not prevention. One normal mammogram doesn’t guarantee cancerous cells haven’t formed in the breast tissue over the course of the year. Annual screenings will help find cancer when it’s small and less invasive treatments may be possible.


  • A mammogram will expose me to unsafe radiation levels.


  • While a mammogram does use radiation, it is a very small amount and it falls within medical safety guidelines established by the Food and Drug Administration, as well as other governing organizations.


  • My doctor didn’t say I need a mammogram, so I don’t need to schedule one.


  • Women can make an appointment for a mammogram without a doctor’s referral. It’s always best to talk with your doctor about which mammogram is right for you and the appropriate timing for screening mammograms, especially women who are age 40 or at high-risk. A schedule will be based upon each woman’s individual health. At age 40, any woman may wish to begin regular screening mammograms. By age 45, women should have a screening mammogram and continue to have one at least every other year.

To schedule a mammogram with radiology experts at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital, 900 W. Clairemont Ave., Eau Claire or HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, 2661 County Hwy I, Chippewa Falls, please call (715) 717- 4151 or (715) 717-1461.


About HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital
HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the Founding Institute, and it is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1889, it has been meeting patient needs in western Wisconsin with the latest medical innovations and technology, together with a Franciscan whole-person healing tradition.

About HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital
HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the Founding Institute, and it is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1885, it has served the people of the Chippewa Falls area with health care that is high tech and high touch. Known locally for the quality of the care it provides patients, the hospital has been recognized nationally for its outstanding patient satisfaction levels. 

About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high quality, Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our physician practices and 15 local hospitals in two states - Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan, and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries,  and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visit


Exposing misconceptions about mammograms
Media Contact

Karen Kraus

Communications Department HSHS Wisconsin