Controversy surrounding the frequency of mammograms followed the recommendations of the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force in November 2009. Their recommendations were to start getting a mammogram at age 50 then respectively every 2 years.
There are many studies that have shown that getting a mammogram on a regular basis can decrease your risk of being diagnosed with advanced stage disease or dying of breast cancer.
The purpose of a mammogram is to detect breast cancer in an early stage – before it can even be palpated. Early detection leads to less invasive surgical procedures such as a lumpectomy versus a mastectomy. Early detection can also lead to less of a need for adjunctive therapy such as radiation or chemotherapy.
I recommend yearly mammograms for my patients starting at 40 regardless of their family history. Over 50% of women in their 40’s diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history. These recommendations are consistent with those of The American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologist and The American College of Radiology, both advocate yearly mammograms starting at age 40.
October is breast cancer awareness month. The pink ribbon symbol was founded by the Susan G. Koman Foundation in 1991 when they distributed pink ribbons to participants in New York City’s, race for breast cancer survivors. Today there are events all over the world to raise money for breast cancer research. Even the National Football League promotes breast cancer awareness by wearing pin on the field. I encourage you to wear pink in October and support breast cancer awareness.
Dr. Trudy Skiles