This will open up a new debate I am sure. A new study is due out today from Harvard showing that younger women should get mammograms. The thought process being start the screening younger to build better habits.
"This new Harvard
Medical study looked at more than 7,300 women diagnosed with breast
cancer. Just over 600 died. Among those who died, 65 percent had never
had a mammogram.
Researchers concluded earlier screening could have saved lives."
An additional note is that half of the women who died were under the age 50 as well.
In 2009, research suggested that women should not get mammograms until age 50. That caused a big hoo-hah if you recall. Now they are suggesting that younger women, no age range suggested, get mammograms, so brace yourself for another huge debate.
The news just covered this story as well. The upside to starting mammograms at a younger age is deaths can be prevented. But how many women would need to be screened to save a single life? And how many false positives would be detected causing unnecessary stress and additional medical costs in the meantime?
I also question the increased cost burden on the medical insurance system. We complain about medical costs increasing but then we expect more and more screening tests. It is a careful balance to achieve - who should get screenings should probably depend on a patient's medical history.
Personally, I have had annual mammograms since age 24 because I had a benign tumor, and a cancer history, so when my breast cancer was detected at 45, it was not my first mammogram. But if not for that benign tumor, I would probably not have had a mammogram until at least 40.
Every patient is different so the advice should be discuss this with your doctor for now.
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