So prepare to get your mammogram excuses busted. Oh, and grab your doctor's phone number so you can schedule your appointment when you're done reading.
1. Breast cancer doesn't run in my family, so I don't need to go.
Having a family history of breast cancer is a breast cancer risk factor. But it's not the whole story.
The American Cancer Society's web site states that "having one first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer approximately doubles a woman's risk. Having two first-degree relatives increases her risk about 5-fold."
But the American Cancer Society also notes that 70% to 80% of breast cancer patients don't have a family history of the disease.
The bottom line: Even if there's no breast cancer in your family tree, you're not home free.
2. I don't feel any breast lumps, so I don't need to get checked.
Not having any breast lumps doesn't rule out cancers that are too small to feel. Breast cancer can start long before a tumor is big enough to feel.
"Mammograms can often show a breast lump before it can be felt," according to the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) web site. The NCI also notes that mammograms can show lumps or specks that may be from cancer, precancerous cells, or other conditions that would require further testing.
3. The mammogram is going to hurt.
When you get a mammogram, your breasts will be compressed briefly in different positions in order for the mammogram X-rays to be taken.
"Although the compression can be uncomfortable and even painful for some women, it only lasts for a few seconds" in each position, the American Cancer Society notes.
A numbing gel may help deal with mammogram pain, researchers reported in July 2008.
4. I'm too busy.
Getting a mammogram only takes about 20 minutes once you get into the mammography room. You may need to wait around a little bit longer while the technician makes sure he has all the images he needs, but it's not a lengthy process.
5. I'm too young for breast cancer.
Breast cancer is most often diagnosed in women after menopause, but it can happen decades earlier.
According to the American Cancer Society, about one in eight invasive breast cancers are found in women younger than 45; about two-thirds of invasive breast cancers are found in women aged 55 or older.
Three well-known women who were diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age are singers Sheryl Crow (diagnosed at age 44) and Kylie Minogue (diagnosed at age 36) and actress Christina Applegate (diagnosed at age 36).