Hello SOTGC community,
Ladies, I hope that everyone is managing to stay happy, healthy, and productive as the winter months fade and spring season approaches. This week I wanted to touch on a subject that is, at some point, on every women’s mind. Let’s face it, most of us agree that mammograms are not a whole lot of fun but a necessary evil in the fight against breast cancer. The guidelines for detection and treatment of breast cancer are constantly changing and often contradictory, leaving women with uncertainty as to what to do.
On February 11th, a 25-year long-term Canadian study was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) regarding the risks and benefits of breast cancer screening. The results of the study indicated that the practice of performing mammograms did not decrease the number of women dying from breast cancer. The Canadian breast cancer study, which began in 1980 and involved 90,000 women, ages 40-59, found that annual mammography did not reduce the death rates associated with breast cancer beyond that of annual physical examinations performed by trained nurses. Furthermore, the study concluded that breast cancer is being over-diagnosed and over-treated based on the inaccurate results of annual mammograms.
Well of course this information has led to some serious controversy and outrage within the medical community. The American College of Radiology declared the results of the Canadian study to be an “incredibly misleading analysis” from a “deeply flawed and widely discredited study.” Wow! So what are we supposed to do with this information?
Well, for now, the Mayo Clinic still recommends that doctors begin offering mammograms to women every year starting at the age of 40. Other organizations, such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, recommend that women begin mammogram screening starting at age 50 and then only every two years after that. Most people seem to agree that when to begin mammograms and how often to repeat them is a personal decision based on a woman’s situation, family history, and personal preference.
What are your thoughts?
You can find the Canadian study at http://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g366 and current breast cancer prevention guidelines at http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/mammogram/expert-answers/mammogram-guidelines/faq-20057759
The image above can be found at: http://www.endalldisease.com/mammography-a-colossal-failure-how-to-prevent-breast-cancer/
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