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Five things you need to know about mammograms

Within the last week, two separate reports were released about the value of routine mammogram, and the reports reached different conclusions. Both were aimed at determining whether routine mammograms save lives throughout early detection of breast cancer. One study suggested mammograms significantly reduce a woman’s risk of dying from breast cancer, but the other said that mammograms may not be as beneficial as we all thought. Need to Know medical correspondent Dr. Emily Senay helps us make sense of all the seemingly contradictory information, with five things you need to know about mammograms.



  • Jessica A Bruno

    Again, have mix feelings on this.

  • Scotchlass

    Isn’t it better to be proactive than reactive? Early detection is not as important??? Seriously????! Sorry, but this is MY life and I would rather get checked every year. What is the difference of dying at 40 and dying at 50 from breast cancer?? 10 years, ladies…10 years. I’m going to get mammograms every year, thank you very much!

  • Elisa5556

    This entire discussion is absolutely ridiculous! What kind of woman WOULDN’T be “able to handle” the anxiety of having further testing in order to insure that she does not have breast cancer? Women should get yearly mammograms. If something is suspect, she should have further testing to see if it’s something that needs treatment, or surgical removal. Any woman who is so fragile that she can’t “emotionally handle” the anxiety of being proactive with issues regarding their own health…has other major (mental) issues that certainly need to be addressed! What excuse will they come up with next, to try and convince women that we do not need yearly mammograms, and who are these people? Certainly none of my friends whose lives have been saved by early detection via mammography!

  • owl

    Wow, never talked about the fact you can get thermagraphy instead of a mammogram and you are not exposed to large amounts of radiation that acturally cause cancer. Every woman needs to research thermagraph before you consider getting a mammogram and ask you doctor to do the same.

  • Cripple

    Now that you commies have given the government more control over our health care system, look for more reports like this. It’s aimed at keeping us from getting further tests. That’s it.

  • giggles

    You weren’t listening!

  • Charlie Riley

    I’ve had 2 mammograms and won’t consent to another until the technology improves (I’m 49, no family history of cancers in general, and my only significant risk factor is that I’m female). Medical science seems to have gotten stuck on this methodology, and I don’t see any research done to find something better. I agree that women with real risk factors should be routinely examined, and an ultrasound may be an effective way to do that, as it seems an ultrasound is the default followup anyway when a mammogram shows something suspicious. I don’t think this near-maniacal mammogram mindset is necessary.

  • Becky S

    See this article:

    They do address thermography. it’s not better than mammograms, and the radiation risk from mammograms is very low.

  • anon

    So where is the Q and A that the doctor will be answering on this site????

  • anon

    It’s not the “anxiety” — yes, that is the wrong discussion. It’s the exposure to potentially other harmful side effects from ANY invasive procedure LIKE a biopsy that concerns me. The fewer medical interventions/hospital visits the better. Imagine that you were told to get a suspicious spot biopsied and were then exposed to some horrid hospital infection, which in turn got you sicker than the negative results of the biopsy. This country is so quick to slice and dice people. And that is why I won’t be getting mammography yearly as a 40-something.

  • Brianna – Need to Know

    Dr. Emily Senay’s answers to questions are posted right here:

  • Brianna – Need to Know

    Dr. Emily Senay’s answers to questions are posted right here:

  • Hownotwho

    I share Anon’s concern about invasive procedures. Following a mammogram which showed several calcifications of an “indeterminate” nature, I was “expected” to immediately schedule a biopsy – aggressively pushed to do so. Then I realized that the breast center had a self-designated state-of-the-art facility which assumed patients would schedule a biopsy immediately. There was no support for taking time to talk to a doctor, look at options, ask questions that would allow an informed decision. So what I take from this is that at a time a mammogram shows something which may suggest further evaluation, I want to have support knowing my options.

  • Punctured

    You speak like someone who has never had an abnormal mammogram. You speak like someone who has never been subjected to a 9 gauge stereotactic biopsy gun, nor has ever been told that even though you have a benign condition, still you need to come on in for further invasive surgery “just to be sure” and, oh, yeah, you will need six month follow-up mri’s indefinitely followed by more biopsies (because of course the previous surgeries and biopsies left questionable areas) and more surgeries until there’s very little left of your once benign breast. 
    Unless you’ve walked the walk, don’t spout the talk!