Mammograms and Breast Cancer prevention

Source:  Mammograms and Breast Cancer prevention    Tag:  mammography radiation exposure
The nice thing about blogging is that I can have an opinion and express it as such. This may be in direct contrast to the official 'recommendations' of the medical establishment.
A case in point are the new mammogram recommendations. Last year someone who was writing an article for 'Good Housekeeping' called me and asked how the new recommendations would change my practice. I told her honestly, they wouldn't.
My response must have been either uninteresting or not politically correct as it wasnt published!

Now that Breast Health awareness month is back (October) I get asked this question again quite a bit.
As far as I'm concerned the new recommendations dont make sense and I believe if my patients see the facts they will agree.
Some of the most egregious recommendations include: discouraging women from doing their own self breast exam and not starting mammograms until the age of 50. Do these jokers know how many of my patients would have been dead by now if I followed these recommendations?

While glancing through a recent edition of Family Practice News I noticed a reference to a study done in Michigan, with more than 5000 women, which agrees with me. The study was reported at the symposium of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. It found that many breast cancer patients would have more advanced disease and face harsher treatment if the recently updated screening guidelines of the US Preventive Services Task Force were widely adopted.
In women under 50, 48.3% of breast cancers were detected by mammography, 46% by palpation.
The speaker concluded that " you are better off if you can have your cancer detected by mammography will have more options and likely need less aggressive treatment......we would support the societies that continue to recommend annual screening mammography starting at age 40"

Do not misunderstand me, mammograms are not perfect and there is some radiation exposure but if you have breast cancer they definitely beat the alternative! I think if you are under 50 you can work it where you can get more thermograms and less mammograms but you still need to get that baseline mammogram to know where you stand. They dont hurt anymore and can be life saving.
Breast cancer treatment has come a long way but we still have a long way to go to eradicate the disease.

Prevention is ALWAYS better than cure.

Stay Well

Dr Tuakli