In medical news, there has been a lot of controversy and changing opinions surrounding breast cancer screenings (mammograms). But the truth remains that these screenings do save lives, as early detection can help give you an accurate diagnosis that allows the doctor to give you the correct form of treatment, if necessary. There should be no controversy, as women should be encouraged to be screened every year starting at the age of 40. Even in the case of a false positive, where mammograms show potential cancer when there is no actual cancer, a second opinion or further testing can help figure things out. What would be worse would be no testing, and letting cancer develop to a deadlier stage.
Breast cancer is a leading cause of premature deaths among women in the United States, with more than 200,000 cases being diagnosed in the United States every year. Nobody enjoys getting a mammogram, but statistics have shown the death rate of this disease has been reduced at least in part due to early detection. So, while mammograms obviously do not prevent cancer, they do save lives in some capacity. Early treatment is one of the biggest factors in breast cancer survival.
A mammography is the screening test for breast cancer. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recently updated its recommendations for breast cancer screening for women at average risk of breast cancer. Among its latest recommendations, the ACS suggests that all women should begin having annual mammograms as early as age 40-45, and then can adjust to having them every other year beginning at age 55, if need be. The ACS guidelines state that, as long as a woman is in good health, regular mammograms should be continued.
As mentioned previously, mammograms can sometimes find “abnormalities” that wind up being false positives. This is where much of the controversy currently stands with mammograms. There is an ongoing debate about accuracy, when women should start getting tested, and how often.
The best way to know when to get a mammogram or how often to get screened is to talk to your medical provider. Once again, the best odds of cancer survival come with early detection, so screening is crucial. Call Independent Imaging at (561) 795-5558 to request an appointment, or request one online.