October 2020

Spread the Word: Mammograms Save Lives

Mammography is an important tool for detecting breast cancer early on, when it’s easiest to treat. According to the American Cancer Society, screening mammograms can reduce breast cancer deaths by approximately 20% to 40%.

The benefits and limitations of mammography vary based on factors like age and personal risk. Experts have different recommendations for mammography. Currently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening every 2 years for women ages 50 to 74. The American Cancer Society recommends a mammogram yearly for all women ages 45 to 54, and every year or every other year for women ages 55 and older.

Women should talk with their doctors about their personal risk factors before making a decision about when to start getting mammograms or how often they should get them.

Reducing breast cancer deaths

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of U.S. women ages 40 and older who are getting regular mammograms has been slowly declining since 2005. Still, fewer women in the U.S. are dying from breast cancer. However, researchers are not sure whether this decline is due to screening or better treatments.

Unfortunately, some women are still not getting their mammograms. For instance, in 2018, 70% of uninsured women—and 36% of women who do have insurance—fell behind on breast cancer screenings.

Beating breast cancer

One thing is clear: If we are going to win the battle against breast cancer, women must be screened.

Women need to be encouraged to follow their doctor’s advice to get regular screenings. You can do your part, too. Remind the women you know and love about the importance of regular mammograms—it just might save their life.

 

 

 

Online Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, BSN, MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 9/1/2020
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