Have you heard about the new breast cancer screening recommendations? I think it's going to be controversial for some time to come. A recent "task force" looking into breast cancer screening has recommended that women don't begin getting routine mammograms until age 50 and then from age 50 to 74, getting a mammogram every other year (and in the UK, once every three years is the recommended interval).
The other finding--and it's been talked about for some time--is that self-exams do little good; now they also think physician exams aren't much better.
I'm not sure what I think about all this. I believe statistics show a decrease in breast cancer since we've become more aggressive about screening, and that must be attributable to something, but then again, there are likely other factors that may play a part in the decrease.
I've also thought in the last few years that yearly mammograms--in women without a family history of breast cancer--are somewhat excessive. I worry about radiation, for one thing, and once a year--or more if a repeat film is required--seems like a lot. And I know it's the subject of a lot of humor, but really, I wonder what harm there may be in being compressed in a vise-like device?
I hope scientists and medical professionals will find some other way of screening that's safer and more effective. In the meantime, I suppose we'll all need to get what information we can, discuss it with our physicians, and follow our instincts. If you'd like to read the article, click HERE.
What are your thoughts on mammograms and the new recommendations?