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National Mammography Day is October 17 (dateline September 29, 2008)

Friday, October 17, 2008, has been designated National Mammography Day in the United States. Women are encouraged to use this day as a reminder to make an appointment to get a mammogram. Mammography, an x-ray examination of the breasts, is considered by experts at the "gold standard" in breast cancer detection. Mammography can help detect breast cancer years before a lump can be felt by physical touch. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the greater the chances it can be successfully treated.

The American Cancer Society and several cancer organizations recommend that all women 40 years of age and older receive yearly screening mammograms. There are currently over 10,000 mammography facilities in the U.S. that are accredited by the American College of Radiology. In addition to yearly mammograms, all women should practice monthly breast self-exams and receive regular physician-performed clinical breast exams.

In 1993, President Clinton proclaimed National Mammography Day to be the third Friday of October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month). To find the nearest facility that offers mammography, women may contact the following organizations:

  • American College of Radiology: 800.227.5463 or visit
  • American Cancer Society: 800.227.2345
  • National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations (NABCO): 888.80.NABCO (800.806.2220)

Presently, mammography is the only exam approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to screen for breast cancer in women with no symptoms of the disease, such as a breast lump.

The FDA reports that mammography can find 85% to 90% of breast cancers in women over 50 and can discover a lump several years before it can be felt. In addition, mammography can provide several benefits. It can detect small breast cancers at early stages, greatly improving chances for successful treatment and survival. Breast cancers found by screening mammography in women in their forties are generally smaller and less advanced, with less spread to lymph nodes or other organs, than cancers found in women not having annual mammograms.

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