News | August 10, 2011

University of Missouri Study Says Doctors, Women Should Spend More Time Discussing Mammograms

August 10, 2011 — Due to changing guidelines concerning when and how often they should first be screened for breast cancer with mammograms, many women are confused. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends women 40 years and older get a mammogram every year; the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends mammograms every other year for women older than 50. A University of Missouri (MU) researcher says doctors and patients should communicate better about individual patients’ timing of breast cancer screenings.

“The science related to breast cancer and mammography screening is continually evolving,” sid Julie Kapp, assistant professor in the department of family and community medicine in MU’s School of Medicine. “Conflicting guidelines across organizations suggest there is still a lot of work to be done to send consistent messages to women and health care professionals to ensure quality care.”

Although the current guidelines suggest varying ages at which women should get mammograms, recommendations in previous years have ranged from age 35 to age 50 for initial screenings. Kapp says women younger than 50 should talk with their physicians to customize the age at which they begin mammography screenings.

Decisions should be based on women’s preference, risk factors and understanding of the benefits and harms of mammograms. Women should also be aware that total health, including diet and exercise, is important for breast health and to reduce the risk of other diseases.

“Women who get mammograms before age 40 are more likely to be subjected to the harms of mammograms that many people don’t consider,” Kapp said. “The tests are not as accurate in younger women, so they can produce false positive results. That means time spent worrying about whether they have cancer, unnecessary biopsies and additional radiation exposure.”

In a pilot study, Kapp is working to understand women’s knowledge about mammography and their feelings surrounding breast cancer screening conversations with their physicians. She aims to help women understand the advantages and disadvantages of mammograms and improve the dialogue between patients and health care providers about the best time to begin screenings.

The goal of the study is not to encourage women to avoid mammograms, but to streamline education on the benefits and risks of breast cancer screenings while improving communication between doctors and patients.

“Most of the information women get about mammograms does not come from their physicians; it comes from friends, family and the Internet,” Kapp said. “Women and doctors should have frequent conversations about their overall health and breast cancer screenings.”

The MU Research Council funds the pilot study. Kapp has an adjunct appointment with the MU Master of Public Health Program.

For more news: http://munews.missouri.edu/

Related Content

VolparaDensity With Tyrer-Cuzick Model Improves Breast Cancer Risk Stratification
News | Breast Density | May 22, 2019
Research has demonstrated use of Volpara Solutions' VolparaDensity software in combination with the Tyrer-Cuzick Breast...
Managing Architectural Distortion on Mammography Based on MR Enhancement
News | Mammography | May 15, 2019
High negative predictive values (NPV) in mammography architectural distortion (AD) without ultrasonographic (US)...
Novel Artificial Intelligence Method Predicts Future Risk of Breast Cancer
News | Artificial Intelligence | May 08, 2019
Researchers from two major institutions have developed a new tool with advanced artificial intelligence (AI) methods to...
Georgia Becomes 38th State With Breast Density Inform Law
News | Breast Density | May 06, 2019
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed breast density inform bill HB62 into law May 3, 2019. The law, which becomes effective...
American Society of Breast Surgeons Issues Risk-based Screening Mammography Guidelines
News | Mammography | May 03, 2019
The American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBrS) has released the first screening mammography guidelines based on a...
Videos | Breast Imaging | April 18, 2019
In a keynote lecture at the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI)/American College of Radiology (ACR) 2019 Symposium, ...
Fatty tissue and breast density may be considered in the context of many factors that affect the occurrence and detection of breast cancer

Fatty tissue and breast density may be considered in the context of many factors that affect the occurrence and detection of breast cancer. Permission to publish provided by DenseBreast-info.org

Feature | Breast Imaging | April 18, 2019 | By Greg Freiherr
When planning a screening program to detect the early signs of breast cancer, age is a major consideration.
compressed breast during mammography.
360 Photos | 360 View Photos | April 16, 2019
A 360 view of a simulated breast compression for a...