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The Truth About the Pros and Cons of Mammograms

By: Women's Care Staff

Mammograms are vital for your breast health. The myth that mammograms cause breast cancer to spread continues to circulate the internet. This causes many to question why mammograms are important. However, this myth is false. Mammograms help find breast cancer. Early detection using mammograms helps breast cancer patients seek treatment at a crucial time. Furthermore, you should know some results can come back false-positive. Here is the truth about the pros and cons of mammograms.

Facts on the effects of false-positive mammograms

Learning that your mammography exam came back positive feels alarming. Receiving a positive result feels overwhelmingly, well, positive. However, researchers at the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention want women to know that doesn’t mean they should hesitate to get screened next time. One of the biggest cons in the pros and cons of mammograms lies in the fact that women who receive false-positive screenings tend to return less for their next screening. This puts them at risk for late-stage cancer, according to an article in the New York Times.

The study looked at a total of 90,018 false-positive and 650,232 true negative tests of over 261,000 women. Researchers found that women with a true negative result, or no cancer detected, were 36 percent more likely to return within three years for screening. However, women with a false-positive result but no cancer detected tended to return for screenings over four years later. Furthermore, many of them fell into late-stage malignancy.

“At Women’s Care, we believe at-risk women or those of the appropriate age should get a mammogram every year regardless of false-positive screening results. Research determines mammogram screenings as the most effective method for the early detection of breast cancer.” Says Women’s Care Dr. Anu Saigal.

What the ACS says about screenings

The American Cancer Society suggests that women between the ages of 44 and 54 should get mammograms every year. Women 55 years old and up can switch to every other year. Likewise, they can also choose to get yearly mammograms depending on the status of their health. Additionally, women with risk factors such as personal history, a family history, a genetic mutation known to increase her risk of breast cancer, etc. should receive an MRI and mammogram every year.

Research indicates that women who receive regular mammograms need to undergo less aggressive treatment and chemotherapy. Furthermore, they tend to have a successful recovery.

Screening mammograms can help your health care provider decide if more testing needs to be done. It helps identify breast changes such as calcifications and masses. To learn more about mammograms, check out some of our resources or schedule a breast cancer screening at one of the Women’s Care offices today.

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