Do You Resolve to Continue Mammograms or To Change Your Routine?

Women’s Health Practice Recommendations on Mammography: Come in to Discuss Remember They Do Save Lives!

Mammography is safe, appropriate as a screening tool for many women, and has saved many lives according to most studies, in genrally the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project showed that cancers that cannot be felt can be detected even those less than 1 cm. At least 89% of cancers will be accurately found, and of those about half would not be felt by the woman or her health care provider. There are those studies which question whether it really saves lives. When and how often, and now even what type of mammogram to get  is an important decision for each women. Individualized evaluation and risk assessment for your risk of breast cancer should occur on an annual basis, and an important reason for women to continue yearly visits. Factors that we should consider will include: your personal history, lifestyle, do you smoke or consume alcohol, your family history of breast disease or breast cancer, your personal genetics if you have been tested, hormone, cancer prevention treatments and medication history, whether you have had children or breast fed your children, nipple discharge, breast pain, cysts or masses, or prior breast surgery.

Newest  guidelines calling for fewer mammograms, and mammograms beginning later in life, and perhaps being done every other year are being recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Breast Cancer Screening group. These guidelines are in conflict with some of the recommendations I have given you, our patients, over the past few years. As a Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist the organization I belong to called the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG). They are studying the new guidelines, but they have not yet changed their current guidelines.

Insurance coverage for medical exams are based both on medical necessity and on recommendations of organizations such as these. Insurance coverage you may have had in the past may be affected by these changes, but most insurance plans will cover screening mammograms well, virtually all plans cover diagnostic mammograms (meaning done to check a problem) well.


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