Yes, radiation is part of the procedure. But the amount of radiation from a single X-ray is relatively small, says Dr Sailaja Kamaraju, assistant professor of medicine at the Froedtert & the Medical College. In fact, the radiation dose from a single X-ray is less than the average dose of background radiation you’ll get at your office over a year’s time. In other words, a single X-ray does not cause cancer. Turning down an X-ray could put you at risk, though. A missed tumour can spread and become deadly, for example. On the other hand, cumulative exposure to radiation through multiple X-rays might be harmful.
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast that can help detect breast cancer early. The procedure involves compressing the breast (often uncomfortably), and there are women who fear that that breast compression may cause breast cancer to spread. Others believe that the radiation emitted by mammography can cause breast cancer. Neither is true, according to the NCI, whose experts point out: “The benefits of mammography… nearly always outweigh the potential harm from the radiation exposure. Mammograms require very small doses of radiation. The risk of harm from this radiation exposure is extremely low.”
Lumps and bumps may be the most common symptoms of breast cancer, but here are 9 symptoms that aren’t lumps that every woman should know about.
Injury to the breast
This myth has been around for years: an injury to the breast, such as falling or being hit in the chest, can cause breast cancer. While an injury to the breast may cause bruising and swelling – or even a benign lump known as fat necrosis – it won’t cause breast cancer, Dr Rich assures.