Why Some Doctors Have Stopped Getting Mammograms

A recent study from Norway reviewed the histories of 40,000 women with breast cancer. It concluded that 2,500 women would need to do a mammogram to prevent one death from breast cancer. What’s more, 10 women out of those 2,500 will get an incorrect cancer diagnosis based on the mammogram, and will face unnecessary mastectomies, chemotherapy, and radiation.

Sometimes, as the CNN piece linked below explains, a mammogram will not even catch breast cancer at all.  In these cases, other techniques are more effective, especially if you have dense breasts.  If you do get a mammogram, make sure you get a copy of the actual report and see if there is any note aboutyour breast density.

In an eye-opening article written in Health Affairs, nurse-practitioner Veneta Masson explains in detail why she no longer gets mammograms. Put bluntly, she doesn’t believe they save lives.

Masson says:

“... [B]reast cancer is just as treatable and just as deadly regardless of screening. I’ve opted out of routine screening … I will always mourn my sister’s untimely death [from cancer] ... If it were in my power, I’d honor her by redirecting the $5 billion this country spends each year on screening mammography to other purposes”.

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