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Dr. Deborah Davenport sorts out the mammogram guideline confusion

If you are confused about the ever changing variations in mammography screening guidelines,  you are not alone.

The goal of screening tests for breast cancer is to find it before it causes symptoms (like a lump that can be felt). Regular mammograms can often help find breast cancers at an early stage, when treatment is most likely to be successful. Women who have regular mammograms are more likely to have breast cancer found early, less likely to need aggressive treatment, and more likely to be cured.

All the organizations that have issued the various mammogram guidelines agree upon this fact: yearly screening beginning at age 40 saves the most lives. They don’t all agree that saving additional lives is worth the costs of anxiety for the 10% of women called back for additional views after a screening exam, or the cost of a biopsy  performed in about 1.5% of screened women, especially if those biopsies turn out to be benign.

The physicians at Southdale OBGYN, following the guidelines of the American College of OBGYN, recommend annual screening mammograms for women starting at age 40, along with clinical breast exams.  Some women who are at high risk of breast cancer based on certain factors may need to start screening earlier or have additional breast imaging.

When to begin mammogram screening and how often to repeat it is a personal decision. We recommend you discuss with your doctor the benefits, risks and limitations of mammograms and decide together what is best for you. At Southdale OBGYN we are eager to help you stay current with all of your yearly health screenings, including annual GYN visits, screening lab tests and mammograms. Call us at 952-920-7001 to find out if you are due for your annual screenings.

To read ACOG’s statement on the American Cancer Society’s revised recommendations and ACOG’s recommendation click here.