Friday, October 15, 2004 has been designated National Mammograph October 15 is National Mammography Day (dateline October 3, 2004) | Breast Health News | Imaginis - The Women's Health & Wellness Resource Network

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October 15 is National Mammography Day (dateline October 3, 2004)

Friday, October 15, 2004 has been designated National Mammography Day in the United States. On this day, approximately 680 American College of Radiology-accredited mammography facilities will offer discounted or free mammograms to help promote the importance of early breast cancer detection. Mammography, which involves taking special x-ray images of the breast, is currently the best exam to screen for breast cancer and detect the disease in early stages when the chances for successful treatment and survival are the greatest.

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 (ACR). 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). In addition to this designated day, many mammography facilities offer discounts on screening mammograms throughout the month of October.

To learn which mammography facilities are participating in National Mammography Day and/or offering discounted mammograms throughout October, women are encouraged to contact one of the following organizations:

  • American College of Radiology: 800.227.5463 or visit
  • American Cancer Society: 800.227.2345
  • The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation: 800.462.9273
  • 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.

Benefits of Mammography

  • Detects small breast cancers at early stages, greatly improving chances for successful treatment and survival.
  • Clinical studies in the U.S., Sweden, the Netherlands, and elsewhere have suggested that deaths from breast cancer could be reduced if screening mammography were performed annually on all women in their forties.
  • 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.
  • 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.

If a breast abnormality is detected with screening mammography, additional breast imaging tests may be performed to confirm or further evaluate the abnormality. A breast biopsy may also be performed to remove and analyze a portion of the breast tissue to determine whether it contains cancer cells. When breast cancer is caught and treated while it is still confined to the breast ducts—a type called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)—the cure rate is close to 100%. The chances for successful treatment significantly decrease when breast cancer is not detected until advanced stages. 

Additional Resources and References