In a study of women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, researchers found that three-quarters of the women who died from breast cancer had not received regular screening mammograms. A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast that can detect a tumor that is too small to be felt. In this study, regular screening mammography was defined as two or more screening mammograms in two years or less for women with no breast cancer symptoms.
What this means for patients
Mammography is the best tool doctors have to screen for breast cancer. According to lead author Blake Cady, MD, Professor of Surgery (Emeritus) at Harvard Medical School and Brown University Medical School, this study suggests that having a regular screening mammogram can help to reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer. All women should talk with their doctors about mammography and decide on an appropriate screening schedule.
What to ask your doctor
- When should I start having regular screening mammograms?
- How often should I have a mammogram?
- What are the benefits of mammography? What are the risks?
- What, if any, other screening tests for breast cancer do you recommend?