To Mammogram or not to Mammogram

I recently read a recent article in the Natural Medicine Journal written by Tori Hudson, ND on Making sense of Mammography and whether or not it should be something that is beneficial to patients or not. Something that I had wondered for a while now. So being enlightened on the subject I’d like to post this for future reference for those reading this blog.

The bottom line of the article states that it really depends on the individual’s risk factors involved in the decision. Risk factors for breast cancer are the following:

Risk Factors:

1. obesity

2. First degree relative with breast cancer history

3. Breast cancer mutations or BRCA mutations found in genetic testing

4. HRT (hormone replacement therapy of both estrogen and progestin)

If you have any of the following risk factors than a mammogram would be recommended especially if you are in between the ages of 40-49 as these are where the more aggressive cancers are present.

Futhermore there are 4 camps of thought regarding mammography to read though:

Camp 1 is the dominant school of thought held by organizations including ACOG, ACR, ACS, and Komen Foundation. They all recommend screening mammography yearly starting at age 40 and ending approximately mid-70s, although this is based on individual health and ability to withstand treatment regimens.

Camp 2 is held by the USPSTF, which is quite a bit different with screening mammography. This recommendation is not to start mammography screening in low-risk women until age 50, and then to do it every other year.

Camp 3 is a model common in many European countries: screening mammography every 3 years, some starting at age 40 and others at 50.  There is no evidence that countries using this model have any higher rates of breast cancer mortality than countries that employ more frequent screening.

Camp 4. No screening at all in low-risk women, based on calculations from one of the leading US researchers on analyzing screening mammography data. As mentioned earlier, his conclusions are that it would be necessary to screen 2,500 women every year for 10 years to avoid 1 death from breast cancer.

The best thing to do is to read through this article and make your informed decision, no one knows your body better than you do yourself.

Prevention is the best cure.

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To read the full article see:

http://naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2014-04/making-sense-screening-mammography-recommendations

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