The topic has been hotly debated in recent years; how often should women get a mammogram? And with all the conflicting information that is being published these days some women are more confused than ever about how to properly screen themselves for breast cancer.
The latest study to hit the web, saw researchers claiming that following the 2009 U.S. guidelines for mammography, which recommend being screened every two years instead of annually, can cause breast cancer to be missed by physicians.
This study was published right on the heels of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine which claimed that mammograms were leading to the overdiagnosis of breast cancer, pointing out that nearly one-third of all patients, over 1 million women, received unnecessary treatment for tumors that would most likely not become life threatening.
The debate pits the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force against the American Cancer Society in their recommendations for women. Up until 2009 both teams agreed that screening should be conducted annuall,y but in their new guidelines published that year, the task force decided to change their recommendation to once every two years for women between the ages of 50 and 74. The Cancer Society stands by their recommendation of annual cancer screenings.
The latest study conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Arleo and a team of researchers found evidence that annual screening is still vitally important for women and that regular mammograms are responsible for detecting 20% of cancer cases. Arleo issued a statement to accompany her findings saying: “Our findings favor the American Cancer Society recommendations. Women over 40 should have annual mammograms. In my book there’s no confusion. I tell my patients, I tell my friends, and I tell my mother to get annual mammograms.” She went on to say that she hopes these finding will “quell some of the confusion” that has erupted of late.