Screening for Breast Cancer

Screening for Breast Cancer


>So how do you know when to start cancer
screening? Does it depend on your history, what you’re feeling, when do you start?
>That’s an excellent question because there is a lot of confusion — there is — so
the American College of Radiology and the Society of breast imaging both
recommends starting screening at the age of 40. Now a few years ago the United
States Preventive task force came out with new recommendations guiding
patients to talk to their physicians and consider starting at age 50,
as a breast surgical oncologist I still recommend and baptists also recommends,
the Miami Cancer Institute recommends, starting at the age of 40. And the reason
for that is that starting at the age of 40 really is the way to save the most
lives. You can look at the evidence and in the 1980s when mammography became
more widespread, we actually saw a shift in the number of cancer deaths since
that time and so for 50 years the cancer mortality rate from breast cancer
remained steady, and then when mammography came about those rates
started to decline and so in 2015 they looked at the numbers and the cancer
death rate from breast cancer declined by 43% after mammography became
widespread, and so that really says a lot. We want to start we want to continue
to catch these cancers earlier and earlier and the only way to do that and
the best way to do that is breast cancer screening with mammography.>I have a
couple of follow-up questions with that. Number one is: I remember doing it at
40 and it was a baseline, is that what it’s called? — correct — the first mammogram, is a baseline mammogram — it kind of sets the tone of what you’re looking
at, right? Now if somebody has a history like their mom had it, should they start
at 30? A little earlier because they’re a little more, I don’t know,
worried?>Well it depends. It depends on the age of the closest relative that was
diagnosed with breast cancer. So in general for average-risk women we say
start at the age of 40, now certain women are not average risk, they’re considered
high-risk. So if your mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age
of 45 then we actually say start screening ten years prior to that, and so
that woman would want to start screening at the age of 35. There are other women
that are considered high-risk maybe because of genetic mutations,
or for other reasons, and those women also might want to start screening
earlier. So it’s a very personalized decision.

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