Breast cancer. The most common cancer among women in the United States.

“Breast tissue has the tendency to be denser in young women. This is why mammograms are recommended for women over the age of 40,” said Dr. Bailey Runkles, JRMC gynecologist and obstetrician. “If a younger woman has a family history of breast cancer, including other risk factors, a mammogram may be recommended.”

The United States Preventative Services Task Force recommends that women of average risk and between the ages of 50 to 74 should have a mammogram every two years. Women who are 40 to 49 years old should speak to their physician about when to start and how often to receive a mammogram screening.

Following are four reasons why you should schedule your 3D mammogram:

  1. Lower risks. A regular mammogram can help detect breast cancer early enough for a curable treatment.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 41,000 women and 450 men within the U.S. die each year from breast cancer. The risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer increases with age.

“Additional ways of reducing one’s risk of breast cancer include regular exercise, keeping a healthy weight and limiting alcohol intake,” Dr. Runkles said. “Breastfeeding decreases the risk for breast cancer as well.”

  1. Early detection. It can take up to three years sometimes to feel a lump in a breast. With mammograms, physicians are able to detect cancer earlier and when it is easier to treat. If detected early, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent.

If a family history of cancers such as breast, ovarian, prostate and colorectal are present, most insurance companies help cover the costs of Myriad genetic testing. This looks for gene mutations of BRCA1, BRCA2 and 26 other genes that have been associated with hereditary cancers.

  1. Free or low-cost programs. If finances are tight or if an individual doesn’t have insurance, free or low-cost programs are available to help women receive the care they need. One of those programs is Women’s Way through Central Valley Health. R.M. Stoudt also organizes the Running of the Pink event each year. Running of the Pink helps pay for screenings for women who can’t afford them through Women’s Way and the JRMC Foundation. Running of the Pink funds also help JRMC pay for state-of-the-art women’s health equipment.
  1. 3D. With technology advances, breast cancer is being detected earlier than ever. Some of these advances include 3D mammography machines. These machines obtain the highest quality image, which provides the earliest detection possible, and allows physicians to provide the best treatment for their patients.

3D mammography helps radiologists identify and characterize individual breast structures without the confusion of overlapping tissue like 2D mammography.

“There’s no excuse for women not to receive a basic screening, as well as their mammogram. This is why JRMC is holding a No Excuses event in conjunction with Running of the Pink,” said JRMC Radiology Manager Jason Schaffer. “The No Excuses event is set for June 11th and 12th. This event provides women the opportunity to receive a cervical cancer screening, as well as their mammogram, all in one quick visit. If women have any financial barriers, proceeds from Running of the Pink help cover those needs.”

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.

Age 40? Schedule your 3D mammogram direct: (701) 952-4852.