New research shows that pre-menopausal women and post-menopausal women alike can benefit from annual screening mammograms. Women who had annual mammograms had diagnoses at earlier stages, regardless of age, compared with women who had mammograms every two or three years.
The Breast Center, along with American College of Radiology (ACR) and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), recommends annual mammograms beginning at age 40.
The study examined women from age 40 to age 84. Those who had annual mammograms were significantly less likely to be diagnosed with late-stage cancer. They also had smaller tumors than the women who had mammograms less frequently. The study also found that the women with annual mammograms experienced less extensive treatment than the others. For example, they were less likely to undergo chemotherapy than those with less frequent mammograms.
Annual screening mammograms
The study confirmed the value of annual mammograms. Some experts suggest annual mammograms for younger women, transitioning to less frequent screening as they get older. Some even suggest that women stop getting mammograms at all when they reach age 70.
However, annual screening mammograms are the only method that has been proven to reduce deaths from breast cancer. In fact, deaths from breast cancer are 30% lower now than they were before mammograms were introduced in the 1980s.
The most common reason given for reducing the number of mammograms is simply the stress of a possible false positive result.
Mammography doesn’t pose any dangers from radiation or any physical harm to women. In fact, most women don’t find a mammogram particularly painful. It takes just about 20 minutes to complete a mammogram.
The pleasant atmosphere and friendly staff ensure that your mammogram is less stressful than you might expect.
Mammograms begin at 40
Talk with your doctor about mammograms. Most doctors want to see their patients begin annual mammograms at age 40, and continue throughout their lives.
Recent research confirms that mammograms save lives — at all ages from 40 on.