9 Facts about mammograms

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

ORLANDO, Fl. — The American Cancer Society recommends women begin to get annual mammograms starting at 40 years old. Here are 9 facts about the cancer screening procedure.

1. Mammography is the X-ray examination of the breast.

2. Mammography is one of three tests used to screen for breast cancer. The other two are the clinical breast exam and an MRI for women who have a high risk of developing breast cancer.

3. A mammogram does not take a long time to perform. The screening exam time takes a half hour or less on average.

4. A screening mammogram usually involves two X-rays of each breast.

5. Mammography has helped reduce the rate of breast cancer mortality by 40% since 1990, according to the American College of Radiology.

6. Some women report discomfort during the mammogram because the breasts are placed on a platform and compressed so the X-rays may be completed. The American Cancer Society suggests scheduling the procedure when your breasts aren't tender or swollen to reduce discomfort.

7. A radiologist will supervise the procedure and analyze the results of your mammogram.

8. Medical professionals agree mammograms are the best screening tool available today, but they do not detect all breast cancers.

9. The National Cancer Institute suggest women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer speak with their physician about getting screened before the age of 40.