Should I Be Concerned About the Radiation Dose of a Mammogram?

Fall is here, and you know what that means: cold air, bright leaves and pink ribbons everywhere. That’s right; it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month! In honor of this amazing cause, we’re answering your questions about breast health in a special series on our blog. We already talked about when you should get a mammogram. Let’s see what our readers are asking today.

Q: How Much Radiation Will I Get From a Mammogram? Is It Dangerous?

Answer: With all the terrible chemicals we’re exposed to every day, limiting your exposure to anything dangerous is smart. Fortunately, the technology used for mammograms is very safe. A woman following the recommended schedule for mammograms won’t have to worry about dangerous levels of exposure.

Q: But, Isn’t All Radiation Bad Radiation?

Answer: Many people don’t realize this, but we expose ourselves to all sorts of natural radiation every day. Even the foods we eat and the plants around us expose us to radiation. What people are worried about is unnecessary exposure.

You’ll have to forgive me because I’m going to get a little sciencey. Don’t worry. It won’t take long. We measure radiation exposure with a unit called the gray. With mammograms, the doses are so tiny that we measure them in milligray. The word “milligray” means one-thousandth of a gray (kind of like how we measure most pills in milligrams). The FDA says that a safe radiation dose for mammograms is three milligray. We try to be as safe as possible at Southtowns Radiology. Our mammograms use the latest, safest technology. Our machines will expose you to a maximum of 1.45 milligray.

Okay, enough science talk. What does this actually mean for you? The amount of radiation you’ll receive during a yearly mammogram is very low. You would get about the same extra dose if you took a flight across the country. The difference is that a mammogram might save your life.

We hope this helps you set aside your concerns. If you have any more questions about our procedures or services, please let us know! While you’re at it, schedule an appointment with us. Our dedicated, experienced staff is waiting to hear from you.

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