The latest Government Task Force states that women must have mammogram every two years starting at age 50. It must be noted that routine screening brings little benefit in the 40s, beginning it that early should be a personal choice. This again leads to an ambiguous situation.
There is little evidence to tell if new 3-D mammogram is the best process for routine screening or again if women with dense breasts should be tested additionally to find hidden tumors as per the release by U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
American Cancer Society has consistently recommending annual mammograms starting at age 40 and the Insurance pays for it. However in 2009 the task force controversially questioned the usefulness of mammograms in the 40s and the latest release is a reworded version of the 2009 document. These dueling advisories are sure to confuse the public.
This time round the government is stressing that women of 40 plus need to weigh the pros and cons of screening with their doctors. There is no dispute in the conclusion that Mammograms clearly can help prevent deaths. However there are pitfalls like anxiety-provoking false alarms, unneeded biopsies, and over diagnosis, detection of tumors that never would have threatened a woman’s life.
Task force past Chairman Dr. Michael LeFevre of the University of Missouri said, “Screening is most beneficial for women ages 50 to 74”.
On comparing with average biennial mammograms done on median level risk women starting at 40 instead of 50 could possibly prevent one additional death but it could lead to 576 more false alarms for every 1,000 women screened, the report revealed. In other words keeping age aside nearly 1 in 5 women whose tumor was revealed via mammogram may be over diagnosed.
On the other hand, women at increased risk because their mother or sister had breast cancer may benefit more from mammograms than the average 40-year-old, LeFevre added.
Dr. Richard Wender of the American Cancer Society, said, “Mammography is the most effective way to reduce the likelihood of being diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, and avoiding a premature cancer death.”