Last fall, the US Preventive Task Force (USPTF), a panel of experts in primary care and prevention, issued controversial new guidelines for breast cancer screening. They suggested women start having mammograms at age 50, instead of age 40, and that they only be screened every other year, instead of annually.
This caused confusion among women. Since mammography screening has reduced breast cancer mortality by nearly 30 percent since 1990, Bon Secours suggests patients talk with their primary care physician to determine the best mammography schedule for their unique situation.
According to Muhammad Siddiky, MD, chairman of the department of radiology at Bon Secours Mary Immaculate, mammograms are still the best way to detect breast cancer early.
“Preventive efforts and better imaging equipment, such as digital, have proven successful over the last 10 to 15 years,” said Dr. Siddiky. “Proper screening along with working with your doctor is the best way to address and manage breast health.”
“Dr. Siddiky suggests that women take charge of their health: conduct self exams monthly, and bring up breast health and family history with their doctor. “Education about breast cancer and screening is critical to fighting this disease,” said Dr. Siddiky.