Does the public understand the role of Mammography?

Mammograms and their role in the maintenance of good health is a hot topic. So many people believe that this exam can save more lives than it actually does.
This is an excellent article which helps to put in to perspective what mammography can achieve as a screening tool.
As with all tests, the benefits, risks and limitations are important to understand and appreciate when making important health care related decisions.
Read this and discuss with your doctor.

Has the power of the mammogram been oversold?

You can find the entire article by Tara Parker-Hope at: mammograms role

At a time when medical experts are rethinking screening guidelines for prostate and cervical cancer, many doctors say it’s also time to set the record straight about mammography screening for breast cancer. While most agree that mammograms have a place in women’s health care, many doctors say widespread “Pink Ribbon” campaigns and patient testimonials have imbued the mammogram with a kind of magic it doesn’t have. Some patients are so committed to annual screenings they even begin to believe that regular mammograms actually prevent breast cancer, said Dr. Susan Love, a prominent women’s health advocate. And women who skip a mammogram often beat themselves up for it.

“You can’t expect from mammography what it cannot do,” said Dr. Laura Esserman, director of the breast care center at the University of California, San Francisco. “Screening is not prevention. We’re not going to screen our way to a cure.”

A new analysis published Monday in Archives of Internal Medicine offers a stark reality check about the value of mammography screening. Despite numerous testimonials from women who believe “a mammogram saved my life,” the truth is that most women who find breast cancer as a result of regular screening have not had their lives saved by the test, conclude two Dartmouth researchers, Dr. H. Gilbert Welch and Brittney A. Frankel.