Saint Antonio – Every year, breast cancer is diagnosed in the United States for hundreds of thousands of people and continues to be the leading cause of cancer death in women. Today we’re talking about new guidelines that have been published regarding screening mammograms.
Dr. A.S. Virgina Kaklamani, MD Anderson Medical Oncologist at UT Health San Antonio, joins Lead SA to break it all down.
“Therefore, the new guidelines recommend screening mammograms every two years from the age of 40 until the age of 74… It is important because the committee decided that the previous guidelines said that we should start screening at the age of 50. In some recent data, it may be a little old for us because many breast cancers are being diagnosed at a younger age,” said Dr. Kaklamani.
Dr. Kaklamini explained that this early diagnosis can save lives.
“Our studies have shown that by doing a mammogram from the age of 40, the death rate has been reduced by 43%. And if we can detect that breast cancer at an early stage, the chances of cure are much higher,” said Dr. Kaklamani.
Additionally, breast density may be a factor if you or a loved one goes for a mammogram, she says.
“Now every mammogram is FDA mandated to provide information about our breast density. And we know that women with dense breasts have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. We also know that mammograms may not be as effective on dense breasts because the tissue is difficult to see on a mammogram. So the guideline is that we don’t have enough data to recommend ultrasound or MRI for those women, and we don’t. But I suggest you talk to your radiologist at the time of this mammogram and make a coordinated decision about whether you should have an ultrasound or an MRI,” says Dr. Kaklamani.
These are general guidelines, but if you’re at higher risk, you should start screening earlier, Dr. Kaklamani suggests.
“All of these guidelines are for women who are generally at risk of developing breast cancer, not those who are at high risk. So if you have a family history, if you have a particular mutation in a gene, so a change in a gene that makes you more susceptible to breast cancer, these guidelines don’t apply to you. We have different guidelines that recommend starting mammograms from 30 to 30 and MRI at 25 years of age. So again, talking to your doctor, getting a family history, understanding what your personal risk is, will help guide your screening. ” said Dr. Kaklamani.
Early detection can save your or a loved one’s life.
“We know that early detection is the key to treating it. So please get mammograms again. The guidelines save lives every two years from age 40 to age 74,” said Dr. Kaklamani.
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