We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Potential Risks of Mammogram Radiation?

Laura M. Sands
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In weighing the benefits versus the risk of mammogram radiation, researchers have discovered that low dose radiation can be quite harmful to young women who have a genetic predisposition to breast cancer. For these women, experts recommend that mammogram radiation be avoided and alternative cancer detection methods be used. In women of all ages, however, the risks of repeated x-rays may also cause cancer to develop in breast tissue, and some experts believe it may contribute to the development of heart disease, as well. For most women, experts agree that a periodic mammography is a safe procedure with very low risks.

Mammogram radiation can cause irreversible damage to specific DNA cells such as breast tissue cells identified as BRCA1 AND BRCA2 cells. These mutated cells do not recover from radiation damage and, therefore, place women with these mutations at an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Doctors believe that women with these breast cell mutations who are age 25 and under benefit more from attempting to detect cancer via radiation-free magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound procedures, instead.

The amount of mammogram radiation exposure is reported to be very low by some experts. Others, however, maintain that mammogram radiation levels exceed the amounts of radiation received via a routine chest x-ray by as much as 150 times. With each breast receiving a minimum of two x-rays, a total of four x-rays are common in most mammography exams. Doctors concerned about these amounts maintain that there is no such thing as a safe level of radiation and that even the lowest doses present the possibility of gene mutations, which may result in cancerous cell developments.

In addition to the development of breast cancer, some experts maintain that radiation exposure may also contribute to the development of cancer in other parts of the body, as well as the development of heart disease. This is of particular concern for mammography patients who have also had recent x-rays for other examinations, including dental exams and chest exams. For these individuals, mammogram radiation only increases overall exposure levels and may cause irreparable cellular damage.

Experts advise women to discuss recent encounters with radiation with their doctors before agreeing to be exposed to mammogram radiation. Doing so may minimize risks of cellular damage. While mammogram radiation presents a serious cancer risk for young women with genetic histories of breast cancer, most research concludes that the risk for healthy women over the age of 35 or 40 is minimal, although the possibility of cell damage always accompanies radiation exposure even if at miniscule levels.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Laura M. Sands
By Laura M. Sands , Former Writer
Laura Sands, the founder of a publishing company, brings her passion for writing and her expertise in digital publishing to her work. With a background in social sciences and extensive online work experience, she crafts compelling copy and content across various platforms. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a skilled contributor to any content creation team.

Discussion Comments

Laura M. Sands

Laura M. Sands

Former Writer

Laura Sands, the founder of a publishing company, brings her passion for writing and her expertise in digital publishing...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.