April 18, 2014
In recent years, there have been many articles questioning the value of screening mammography starting at age 40. These articles garner publicity and confuse everyone, health care providers and the public alike, regarding the efficacy of screening for breast cancer.
Most recently, a Canadian study published in the February 11, 2014 edition of the British Medical Journal reported that screening mammography offers no life-saving benefit for women. The study actually has little relevance to today’s mammography. It is derived from data obtained from mammograms taken mainly in the 1980s when mammography was still in its infancy.
Lawrence Bennett, MD, Chief of Women’s Imaging at South Sound Radiology, is concerned that flawed studies like this one will lead women to believe that annual mammography exams are no longer significant nor life-saving.
“When you review the mammographic literature, it is important to review the paper critically but also to understand when and how the imaging was performed,” Dr. Bennett said. “Breast imaging is now digital with greatly improved resolution – the Canadian study was performed with early screen film mammography, an outdated technique.”
Dr. Bennett advises clinicians to encourage their female patients to follow established recommendations.
The American Cancer Society’s guidelines which state that women over age 40 should get a mammogram once a year, are sound,” Dr. Bennett said. “At South Sound Radiology, we find twice as many cancers through screening mammography than the Canadian study claimed to find, and we are more likely to detect them early in women who have regular mammograms.”
South Sound Radiology firmly supports annual mammography screening beginning at age 40.
If you have any follow up questions or concerns about breast mammography and women’s imaging, please give us a call at South Sound Radiology at 360-493-4600.
South Sound Radiology is an FDA Certified Mammography Facility and has achieved accreditation by the American College of Radiology for its mammography services. SSR is the first in the South Sound area to offer a full complement of imaging and interventional breast care services, including digital mammography, breast ultrasound, breast MRI, and breast biopsies.