The Breast Cancer Breakthrough that's Making Experts Angry
May 16, 2011
The use of mammograms has dropped following recommendations by a medical task force that women in their 40s may not need to get breast cancer screenings every year. Studies suggest that fewer physicians are recommending annual mammograms for women in their 40s, and that fewer patients in that age group are getting screened.
In November of 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a federal advisory board, said that yearly mammograms should not necessarily be automatic at age 40. They did recommend routine mammography screenings every two years for women ages 50 to 74.
"Mammograms are less effective in detecting growths in younger women, whose breasts may be denser. The screening gets better with older women because breast tissues change over time. As a result, some women experience false positives, anxiety and unnecessary biopsies because of mammograms, according to data."
Meanwhile, more and more clinical studies are showing that an alternative, noninvasive breast cancer screening test – thermography – could soon become the initial breast screening tool for pre-menopausal women.