Chamber Insider Blog

Breast Cancer Awareness: Why should women get an annual mammogram?

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Health & Wellness Committee though it was appropriate to share information from the experts on mammography. Thank you Cheryl from RIA Imaging Associates.

As the director of marketing for a large radiology practice, I speak to a lot of women about mammograms.  “When should I start getting an annual mammogram?”  This is probably one of the most common questions.  The short answer is at 40 (for asymptomatic with no significant family history).  But, thanks to the media and recent buzz suggesting that women ages 40 – 50 should be screened every other year, many are now confused and the topic is quite controversial.  

Here are some facts to consider: 

  • 1 in 6 breast cancers occur in women in their 40’s
  • 90% of breast cancers are found in low-risk women with no family history

In my opinion, the U.S. Preventative Task Force (USPTF) did a disservice to women by analyzing information which used outdated technology from several decades ago.  We have gone from analog to digital to now 3D mammography.  In a relatively recent Forbes article, I think Elaine Schattner said it best: “Researchers are analyzing our grandmothers’ mammograms to inform women’s health and screening decisions today.” 

The USPTF also doesn’t account for the fact that the U.S. has seen a 33% drop in breast cancer mortality since 1990.  This is a result of early screening and detection, coupled with improved treatments.

And, did you know that with advances in technology, we are often able to find breast cancer as early as Stage 0 now?  By delaying mammograms and finding cancer at later stages, we are subjecting women to more aggressive treatments.  This, in turn, negatively affects the quality of life for the patient and the family. 

So, what can you do?  I encourage patients to be proactive in their healthcare and to ask questions!  Make sure that when you are researching your options, you find experts in the field.  The recommendation to support annual mammograms at age 40 is supported by the American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology, and the Society of Breast Imaging.

-Posted by Cheryl Goldsby, Radiology Imaging Associates (RIA) – Link to: