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 Post subject: Mammogram or not?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:33 pm 
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I would just like to get some idea as to what other women are thinking/doing about mammograms. I am turning 40 this year, and my doctor recommended I get a base line mammogram. Well, for the past few years, I have casually read about the dangers versus the benefits of mammograms, and decided I would never have one. Now that I am actually almost at mammogram age, I thought I would revisit the subject, and make the most informed decision. I have read many articles about the pros and cons. My negativity toward them is sparked by articles I've read about the large amount of cancer pre-screening done in the US. The radiation is dangerous, some think, and the danger may outweigh the benefit of possibly finding a small amount of cancer, that may never even affect me in my lifetime. Are there other women out there who do not get screened? I'd love to hear from you. Also, my husband has never gotten the pre-screening for prostate cancer after we read that even the head of the American Cancer Society, who is in his 60s, has never had one. A lot of money is being made off these pre-screenings. Sometimes I think it would be best if neither of us went to a doctor anymore unless we have an injury. I'd love others' opinions on the matter.


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 Post subject: Re: Mammogram or not?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:53 pm 
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Oh shoot, you reminded me. My doc said I should get my first mammogram (I'm 35).

I know someone who just got diagnosed with prostrate cancer, what danger is there? I think it is a good preventative measure and it doesn't cost anything over a regular physical visit. We get yearly physicals and our insurance covers the cost.

I can understand some apprehension towards mammograms but breast cancer is a disease that kills many women every year. Do you have any good peer reviewed articles about the dangers of mammogram screenings? I personally plan to get one done sometime soon. I've seen many people die of cancer in my life and I'd rather not be one of them.

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 Post subject: Re: Mammogram or not?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:01 pm 
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I don't think the alleged risks of cancer screening outweigh the benefits.


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 Post subject: Re: Mammogram or not?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:58 pm 
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There are a few extensive blog posts on studies that have been done on this:
http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=3082 (see links therein)
http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/ ... _cance.php
http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/ ... _mammo.php
http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=6940


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 Post subject: Re: Mammogram or not?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 3:17 pm 
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is it possible you could ask for an ultrasound instead? i have some fibroadenomas and i've had one mammogram, but insurance won't pay for more when i get checked yearly, so i've gone in for ultrasounds instead. the number of lives that have been saved by mammograms is pretty significant and i think if you're generally careful about radiation skipping this screening tool is probably a mistake.

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 Post subject: Re: Mammogram or not?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 3:35 pm 
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I had my first (baseline) mammogram last year, and it was worth it to me. I won't be having yearly mammograms, but its good as a baseline going forwards.

If you decide to have one done, make sure you get a digital and not a film mammo. I had film first (no one told me that if you have dense breasts film is useless) and had to have it redone with digital. Its not pleasant, but it isn't as bad as people told me it was.

Good luck with whatever you decide. IDJI, I asked whether an ultrasound could replace a mammo as they were doing one on me anyway, and was told that it doesn't.

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 Post subject: Re: Mammogram or not?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:20 pm 
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Early detection can make all the difference in the world.

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 Post subject: Re: Mammogram or not?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:20 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
I had my first (baseline) mammogram last year, and it was worth it to me. I won't be having yearly mammograms, but its good as a baseline going forwards.

If you decide to have one done, make sure you get a digital and not a film mammo. I had film first (no one told me that if you have dense breasts film is useless) and had to have it redone with digital. Its not pleasant, but it isn't as bad as people told me it was.

Good luck with whatever you decide. IDJI, I asked whether an ultrasound could replace a mammo as they were doing one on me anyway, and was told that it doesn't.


oh that's interesting to know. i'm glad i got one for a baseline. now my insurance says I'm too young to have another. the last ultra sound i had was actually more unpleasant than the mammo just because I had to stay in a really uncomfortable position for a long time.

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 Post subject: Re: Mammogram or not?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:53 pm 
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lavawitch wrote:
Early detection can make all the difference in the world.


Agreed.

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 Post subject: Re: Mammogram or not?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:15 pm 
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I had one when I was 35 and another one yesterday. Both times I had to go back for another mamogram and then an ultrasound. Both were done via digital, and the old ones were on file with a click of a button. I think they save tons of lives and would't want to take a chance.


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 Post subject: Re: Mammogram or not?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:55 pm 
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Do it. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers, but it is also one of the most easily prevented/treated/detected. Mammograms are one of those not-so-fun things that all of us women have to deal with.


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 Post subject: Re: Mammogram or not?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:11 pm 
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I had one at 29 (4 years ago) because of family history, and I ended up having to get a follow-up because when you're young, your tissue is all dense and stuff, so they couldn't tell what they were seeing. Everything ended up okay, but it was stressful so I've been slacking on getting another since then. I should probably get in for another one at some point, but 33 is still pretty young, so I don't know.


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 Post subject: Re: Mammogram or not?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:47 pm 
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I don't mean to be pushy, but... get one. Too many people I love didn't and only found their breast cancer once it progressed. Having a history does mean an increased chance, but no history doesn't give you immunity.

In the long run of things, it's not a lot of radiation exposure, one mammo a year. And it's paid for by most insurances. If detected early it's very treatable, but it can easily spread if left alone.
Health screenings are something that I'm quite passionate about. It's crazy to see what people will ignore! In the long run, preventative care and screenings save money and save lives. If you find a tumor in situ (benign) it can be easily removed in surgery, but if it is not longer encapsulated (spreads to local tissue, becoming malignant) than surgery must be followed with radiation or chemotherapy to make sure that the doc got all of it. More time, more money, longer recovery time, more extensive side effects from a more aggressive treatment, and longer time out of work... It may seem like the US is a little health screening happy, but I truly believe in it.

Tofulish wrote:
If you decide to have one done, make sure you get a digital and not a film mammo. I had film first (no one told me that if you have dense breasts film is useless) and had to have it redone with digital. Its not pleasant, but it isn't as bad as people told me it was.

Definitely get a digital over the film. Digital can show the tissue in much greater detail, so make sure your baseline is digital. My mom nearly had a heart attack when she got her first digital and they said they found an "anomaly." When compared with the film they found that it was a dense area that had always existed but now was more clearly seen.


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 Post subject: Re: Mammogram or not?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:03 pm 
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I, too, say get one. My oldest, best friend found advanced stage 4 cancer at 37 and it wasn't a pretty picture.


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 Post subject: Re: Mammogram or not?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:57 pm 
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I had a doc who wanted to start mammograms with me at 30. In the absence of any family history or any risk factors besides having breasts, it didn't seem like the risk from the radiation exposure was worth it. My current doc agrees and wants to start me at 40 (which is where I am now.) I'm due for a pap so I'm sure when I go in she will want to schedule a mammogram as well. This time I'll go for it.

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 Post subject: Re: Mammogram or not?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:12 am 
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I agree that you should get a mammogram. But if you do want to be cautious about radiation, try breast thermography first to see if there are any noticeable abnormalities. It seems to be really good at detecting early cancer stages...

That said, breast thermography is NOT a replacement for mammography, since it doesn't pinpoint where the exact tumor is (if present, of course). Most doctors say it's best to use both breast thermography and mammography to better detect cancer, and it also helps reduce unwanted radiation if the thermography results turn out to be normal...

As always, ask your doctor what's best for you and decide for yourself.


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 Post subject: Re: Mammogram or not?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 8:27 pm 
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Hello. I'm actually a Certified Lactation Counselor so my specialty involves breasts and I am informed about this issue.

I'm going to have to disagree with the rest of the posters. Mammograms do NOT, in fact, save many lives and the risks have been greatly understated. The most commonly experienced risk is probably overtreatment. The most serious risk is actually increasing your risk of cancer by getting the test.

I advise clients with no family history of breast cancers to wait until after menopause (rather than at a specific age) to consider that test. Prevention is really the name of the game with breast cancer-- do you live a healthy lifestyle free from most risk factors? Early detection is hyped but in reality close to worthless.

http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/br ... -save.html


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 Post subject: Re: Mammogram or not?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:00 pm 
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my GYN felt density (at 31), so referred me for an ultrasound, and then they made me come back for a mammo and then they want me to go back in 6 months. (in their defense, my mom had breast cancer, so they were probably just being ultra thorough. i hope.)

the only thing uncomfortable about the mammo was the bandaid with the metal ball that they put on my nipples. the squeeze was nothing. the ultrasound was more uncomfortable because of all the lube. ick.

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