Mammograms seem to be the hot topic of the week. And Â for good reason. Mammograms are the most effective way to detect breast cancer. In the US alone 180,510 new cases of breast cancer are Â expected to be diagnosed this year. And 40,910 people are Â predicted to die from breast cancer. 99% of Americans affected by breast cancer are women.
Yesterday I told you that the American College ofÂ Â Physicians released a new guide on mammogram Â screening. This guide showed that a mammogram for Â women between the ages of 40 – 49 is may not be Â necessary. The womanâs current risk level should beÂ Â looked at individually with her doctor — because the risks Â may not out weight the benefits.
Well today I have even more news about the risks ofÂ Â mammograms. Â A recently published study in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that computer-aided mammograms mayÂ Â be the cause of unnecessary biopsies. Â Nor do they raise the chance of finding a tumor. Â The study looked at over 429,000 mammograms, from 43 Â different medical centers in three states. Researchers concluded that out of 1,000, 98 women were wrongly toldÂ Â they were cancer-free when their mammogram was read byÂ Â a person. While 128 out of 1,000 were wrongly diagnosedÂ Â when a computer read their mammogram.
Thatâs an extra 30 wrong diagnoses when a computer is Â involved. Â In law suits against radiologists, missed tumors were the Â main issue. And approx. 24 million mammogram Â screenings are done in the US each year. Â So what does that mean for you? Â When scheduling your next mammogram, ask your medical center if you can have a human-read screening. If not, consider looking for a new facility where computers are not used.
In addition to your mammograms, you should do a self-Â exam every month. And your doctor should also checkÂ when youâre in for your annual physical.