Dr. Erin Fleener discusses various methods of breast cancer screenings.
There has been a lot of information in the lay press recently about mammograms and whether or not they are still the best screening test for breast cancer. This has come upon us because of some recent studies that have shown in the last twenty or thirty years, as we have really advocated yearly mammograms in women, what we have noticed based on some recent studies is that we do not seem to actually be curing as many people with breast cancer as we thought we were.
So although mammograms are still the absolute best test at finding breast cancer early, we are not sure if that translates into actually saving lives from breast cancer. And so some recent studies have come out questioning that and all screening tests have to prove that they actually save lives from the particular cancer that they are screening for.
I think it is important that people understand that mammograms for screening are still the best tests that we have, but it is possible that we may not need to do them quite as often. We are still recommending yearly mammograms over the age of fifty and for most women over the age of forty. It is a discussion that women will now be required to have with their primary care doctor before just blanket ordering it on every woman that walks through the door.