Do Mammograms Really Save Lives?
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a reminder for all women on the importance of mammograms and other breast cancer screenings. Some experts are beginning to question the validity of mammograms as a means of savings lives. However, according to the American Cancer Society, annual mammograms is a crucial part of detecting breast cancer early. Since early detection gives women a greater chance of survival, mammograms are an important part of fighting breast cancer.
What other tools are used?
In addition to mammograms, the American Cancer Society states breast exams performed by health care professionals and self-exams are important.
Have mammograms had a positive effect on breast cancer survival rate?
Determining the effectiveness of mammograms in reducing lives lost to breast cancer is difficult. Because there are so many other factors to consider, it is almost impossible to determine if the improvement in the breast cancer survival rate is a result of mammograms or of better treatments and greater general awareness.
Otis W. Brawley says the following about mammograms:
“Women should understand that breast cancer screening is imperfect and does have limitations. Nonetheless, one can be ‘pro-screening’ without resorting to exaggeration or over promising effectiveness. While clinical studies consistently show that breast cancer screening has significant limitations, including some over-diagnosis, we also know that mammography screening does save lives.”
What does this information mean?
In short, many studies have revealed that breast cancer survival rates have improved. However, experts still disagree as to how much of an impact mammograms themselves have. Nevertheless, as stated by Mr. Brawley, mammography does save lives. Therefore, mammograms are worth the effort. Women should consult with their doctor to determine their particular risk of breast cancer and determine on an individual basis, which would be based on family history and age among other elements, how frequently they should have mammograms and at what age to begin.