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Five myths about mammograms

October 12, 2023 


Hospital News

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

EAU CLAIRE, Wis.  – Before the end of 2023, it is estimated more than 279,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women; about 43,000 women will die from breast cancer. These statistics from the American Cancer Society have prompted HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals’ mammography technologists to expose five misconceptions about mammography.

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

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

Myth: A mammogram is painful.
Truth: While a mammogram may be mildly uncomfortable for some women due to the compression of breast tissue, the discomfort is brief and tolerable. 

Myth: Mammograms can cause breast cancer.
Truth: Mammograms use a low dose of radiation and the risk of radiation-induced breast cancer from a mammogram is extremely low and outweighed greatly by the benefits of early detection. 

Myth: My doctor didn’t say I need a mammogram, so I don’t need to schedule one.
Truth: 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 at high-risk. A mammogram schedule will be based upon each woman’s individual health. At age 40, 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) 717-1461.


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 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 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 15 Local Systems and physician practices in 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

Five myths about mammograms
Media Contact

Karen Kraus

Communications Department HSHS Wisconsin