Doctors React to Controversial Mammogram Study
Doctors at the University of Rochester at Highland Hospital are speaking out about the importance of mammograms. This, after a medical study was published Monday that they say could cause controversy about the frequency women should undergo screenings each year.
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"Mammography, believe it or not, is the only test that is associated with reducing the death rate from breast cancer," said Dr. Avice O'Connell.
O'Connell is the Director of Women's Imaging at the University of Rochester. She says every week, her staff has to tell someone about the grim discovery of breast cancer found during screenings.
Monday, a study was published by JAMA Internal Medicine comparing thousands of women, age 50 to 74, who had mammograms done every year versus every two years. It concluded that there was no difference in late-stage cancer diagnosis.
"What it's not saying is don't get a mammogram; what it's saying is this particular late-stage presentation wasn't any different," said O'Connell.
O'Connell fears the study may send the wrong message to women about how frequent they should be screened.
"It could be seen that this is another blow to mammography, that now after the task force says you didn't need to start til 50, that's what people thought. Now this one is saying come every two years. Neither one is what they said," said O'Connell.
Coming every two years has not or will never be an option for Debie Boyington.
"It doesn't take long for something to start there. I'd wanna know," said Boyington.
At age 42, she says she has gotten her mammograms every year for the past four years religiously.
"Just my age and all the stories you hear about women getting breast cancer, it's scary," said Boyington.
O'Connell says getting your annual breast exam should still be done when you turn 40.
She says hoping that the results of this study won't discourage that from happening.
"I just want people to not take from this headlines an idea that they don't need to have a regular mammogram," said O'Connell.