Mammogram Study Reveals Pros and Cons

By: Women's Care Florida Staff

Learning that your mammography exam came back positive is alarming — to say the least. Finding out that you’re in the clear after receiving a positive result is overwhelmingly, well, positive. However, researchers at the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention want women to know that doesn’t mean they should hesitate to get screened next time. Their study found that women who receive false positive screenings are less likely to return for their next mammogram, putting them at risk for late-stage cancer, according to an article in the New York Times.

The study looked at a total of 90,018 false positive and 650,232 true negative tests of over 261,000 women. Researchers found that women with a true negative result, or no cancer detected, were 36 percent more likely to return within three years for screening. Women with a false positive result, or a positive mammogram, but no cancer detected, were more likely to receive screenings over four years later. And many of them learned that they were in late-stage malignancy.

“At Women’s Care Florida, we believe women who are at risk or are of the appropriate age should get a mammogram every year regardless of false positive screening results. Mammogram screenings are the most effective method for the early detection of breast cancer.” -Dr. at WCF (Select A Physician)

What the ACS says about screenings

The American Cancer Society suggests that women between the ages of 44 and 54 should get mammograms every year. Women 55 years old and up can switch to every other year or choose to get yearly mammograms depending on the status of their health. Additionally, women with risk factors such as a personal history, a family history, a genetic mutation known to increase her risk of breast cancer, etc. should receive a MRI and mammogram every year.

Research shows that women who have regular mammograms  are less likely to need aggressive treatment and chemotherapy, and are more likely to be cured.

Screening mammograms can help your health care provider decide if more testing needs to be done. It helps identify breast changes such as calcifications and masses. To learn more about mammograms, check out some of our resources or schedule a breast cancer screening at one of the Women’s Care Florida offices today.