Technology Can Be a Scary Thing

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

Mammograms seem to be the hot topic of the week. And  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  expected to be diagnosed this year. And 40,910 people are  predicted to die from breast cancer. 99% of Americans affected by breast cancer are women.

Yesterday I told you that the American College of  Physicians released a new guide on mammogram  screening. This guide showed that a mammogram for  women between the ages of 40 – 49 is may not be  necessary. The woman’s current risk level should be  looked at individually with her doctor — because the risks  may not out weight the benefits.

Well today I have even more news about the risks of  mammograms.   A recently published study in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that computer-aided mammograms may  be the cause of unnecessary biopsies.  Nor do they raise the chance of finding a tumor.  The study looked at over 429,000 mammograms, from 43  different medical centers in three states. Researchers concluded that out of 1,000, 98 women were wrongly told  they were cancer-free when their mammogram was read by  a person. While 128 out of 1,000 were wrongly diagnosed  when a computer read their mammogram.

That’s an extra 30 wrong diagnoses when a computer is  involved.  In law suits against radiologists, missed tumors were the  main issue. And approx. 24 million mammogram  screenings are done in the US each year.  So what does that mean for you?  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- exam every month. And your doctor should also check when you’re in for your annual physical.