Friday, October 21, 2005 has been designated National Mammography October 21 is National Mammography Day (dateline September 29, 2005) | Breast Health News | Imaginis - The Women's Health & Wellness Resource Network

The Women's Health Resource. On the web since 1997.

October 21 is National Mammography Day (dateline September 29, 2005)

Friday, October 21, 2005 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, 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). Some facilities offer discounted mammograms on this day.

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
  • 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.

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. Clinical studies in the U.S., Sweden, the Netherlands, and elsewhere also suggest that deaths from breast cancer could be reduced if screening mammography were performed annually on all women in their forties.

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