Advertisement

Earlier, More Frequent Mammograms Save Lives

Earlier, More Frequent Mammograms Save Lives

When the TSA imposed stricter screening guidelines on flights into the U.S. this past July, people yowled about the longer lines and extended delays that those extra measures might cause. But, said US security officials, the risk/benefit ratio was clear: Increased screening is worth the inconvenience.

A study in the journal Cancer presents a similar conclusion. Researchers compared three different recommendations for getting mammograms and found regular annual screenings from age 40 to 84 save the most lives—even though they also increase the risk of false-positive mammograms and unnecessary biopsies.   

The recommendations the researchers looked at in addition to annual screening from age 40 were: 1) an annual screening from the age of 45 to age 54 and then screening every two years from age 55 to age 79; and 2) screening every two years starting at age 50 through age 74. They then estimated how many breast-cancer-related deaths could be prevented with each screening recommendation.

Their conclusion: Starting annual mammograms at age 40 accounted for a nearly 40 percent reduction in breast cancer deaths compared to a 23 and 31 percent reduction with the other two recommendations (compared to no screening).

So, now you have the facts, talk with your doctor about your risks for breast cancer and the benefits of each mammogram schedule.

Bonus: The FDA just approved a new device that may make mammograms’ big squeeze less painful. A remote-controlled machine let’s you participate in determining the right compression, so you’re not unnecessarily pinched during the X-ray. 

Medically reviewed in June 2018.

Protect Breast Tissue with This Tuber
Protect Breast Tissue with This Tuber
Whenever you have potatoes on the side, make these your tubers of choice: sweet potatoes. They could be real friends to breast tissue. A diet high in...
Read More
How does breast density affect my risk for breast cancer?
HealthyWomenHealthyWomen
Studies have shown that denser breasts are associated with an increased risk in breast cancer. There...
More Answers
4 Habits to Keep Your Breasts Healthy
4 Habits to Keep Your Breasts Healthy4 Habits to Keep Your Breasts Healthy4 Habits to Keep Your Breasts Healthy4 Habits to Keep Your Breasts Healthy
Simple things like regular exercise can protect your breasts.
Start Slideshow
What Can I Do to Help Prevent Breast Cancer?
What Can I Do to Help Prevent Breast Cancer?