There has been a lot of confusion about when and how often women should get their mammograms. In 2009, a health task force suggested women in their 40s stop having mammograms until they turn 50, and then have exams only every other year. However, organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the American College of Radiology have always recommended women begin annual screenings at age 40. What is the best action for women to take?
What the experts say J. Wesley Solze, MD, the medical director for Advanced Medical Imaging’s Women’s Diagnostic Centers, recommends women get screened every year, starting at age 40 and continuing as long as they are healthy. “Mammograms are one of the few types of screenings available that have been proven to save lives,” he says. “So, if you get your annual mammograms, your risk of dying from breast cancer is reduced by 30 percent.” And, thanks to technical advances like improved visualization and less radiation, digital mammography is safer and more effective than ever.
Lori Eakin, MD, FACS, a general surgeon specializing in breast care at Harrison HealthPartners Silverdale Breast Care, agrees. “Digital mammography is the best thing we have to early detection,” says Dr. Eakin, who stresses the importance of annual exams.“There is no magic age limit in the detection of breast cancer, and since breast density varies with each woman regardless of age, other risk factors need to also be considered.” Such risk factors include reproductive and family history, obesity, smoking, activity level, and alcohol consumption. Early detection can also lead to a greater range of treatment options, including less-aggressive surgery (lumpectomy vs. mastectomy) and a lesser need for chemotherapy. “While mammography isn’t foolproof, annual mammograms will find cancer at an earlier stage than self-exams alone, providing women with hope for a better quality of life without extensive treatments,” says Dr. Eakin.
Make time for your mammogram Schedule your mammogram now. Advanced Medical Imaging (AMI), in partnership with Harrison Medical Center, offers three conveniently located, state-of-the-art diagnostic centers, each providing a complete range of imaging services.
Women's Diagnostic Center Silverdale 1780 NW Myhre Road Suite 1220 360-337-6500
AMI/Women's Diagnostic Center South Kitsap 450 South Kitsap Blvd. Suite 110 360-337-6500
AMI/Women's Diagnostic Center Poulsbo 22180 Olympic College Way Suite 101 360-337-6500