A new study on when women should begin routine breast cancer screenings is stirring up debate

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Posted: Monday, September 9, 2013 5:29 pm | Updated: 10:35 pm, Mon Oct 7, 2013.

Harvard researchers say mammograms before age fifty could dramatically cut deaths from breast cancer.

In 2009, the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) controversial recommendations for mammography was fifty then every other year until age seventy four. Before this patients were told to start at forty, now, researchers say mammograms before age fifty could save lives.

Forty three year-old Suncoast resident and mother of six, Mary Redman's world came crashing down when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. "It was stage one, it was very very early." she said, "I was shocked actually, I was very shocked, because I'd never been a smoker, I'd always exercised I've been very active my whole life,"

After discovering a breast lump at the gym, her doctor sent her for a mammogram even though she had no family history, the mammogram revealed a suspicious lump and she went for further tests which may not have been ordered had she not had the mammogram. 

Redman said, "Mammograms are very important because they can detect things early, if there's anything in your breast that's suspicious it can detect it."  Yet, there is still debate over when women should begin routine breast cancer screening, and this, may be why.

"Because the mammograms have gotten better, we are finding these little lesions called Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, (DCIS)" Said Caryn Silver, M.D. of Florida Cancer Specialists. Technically termed stage zero breast cancer, DCIS stays within its little area it has zero risk of metastasis. "We have seen an increase in very early stages of breast cancer that perhaps might not have become problems." She said.

The American Cancer Society did not change their guidelines, even when the USPSTF recommended age fifty for baseline mammograms.

"The American Cancer Society still recommends mammograms at the age of forty and above on a yearly basis." Said Dr. Silver.

The recommendations of age fifty by the USPSTF were aimed to balance between catching the most breast cancer cases early while limiting the potential downsides of false positives and costs. But, for Mary Redman, early mammography made a difference.

And she was was emphatic, "Get the mammogram, it does not matter if there's history, it doesn't matter if you're a non-smoker it doesn't matter just get it done."

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1 comment:

  • VeraQuo posted at 11:44 pm on Tue, Sep 10, 2013.

    VeraQuo Posts: 3

    Women should be (although most of them are not going to be) extremely suspicions of this new study. Here is why...

    If you knew that the most influential pro-mammogram studies are significantly flawed, that large well-conducted studies showed no significant reduction in breast cancer mortality from the use of mammography use, that the pro-mammogram scientists have tendency to minimize and disregard the serious risks of mammograms (Kopans, co-author of this new study is one of them), that (almost) all pro-mammogram studies are performed by researchers with vested interests -such as Kopans (read the ebook "The Mammogram Myth: The Independent Investigation Of Mammography The Medical Profession Doesn't Want You To Know About" by Rolf Hefti), would you conclude that this new study is credible and reliable?


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