Mammograms – Are They Saving Lives?

Mammograms - Are They Saving Lives?   Linda Franklin The Real Cougar WomanWhether or not to have a yearly mammogram has women more than a little confused.  I  have been getting an annual exam since I was 40 – this year I didn’t.   I am scheduled to go again in January because I am afraid not to.  It’s a real dilemma – a damned if you do damned if you don’t scenario.

Last week there was an article in the New York Times blog on the latest research published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The research shows that, “mammograms increased diagnoses and surgeries, but didn’t save lives”.

Mammogram screening led to an increase in the number of breast cancers detected at an early stage but the number of cancers diagnosed at the advanced stage was essentially unchanged.  If mammograms were really finding deadly cancers sooner (as suggested by the rise in early detection), then cases of advanced cancer should have been reduced in kind.  But that didn’t happen.

So what are we to make of that?

Mammograms have become standard care for women based on the understanding that early detection is key to preventing death from breast cancer.  As the article states, “the trial results threatened a mammogram economy, a marketplace sustained by invasive therapies to vanquish microscopic clumps of questionable threat, and by an endless parade of procedures and pictures to investigate the falsely positive results that more than half of women endure.”

Are mammograms benefiting women, or are they just something that helps fund a dysfunctional health care system?   I guess every woman has to make that decision for herself.

The Real Cougar Woman is a 5-carat diamond who knows the importance of taking care of her health, beauty, relationships, finances and spirituality. Linda Franklin says, ”there is no stopping a woman who has a strong belief system, passion and a dream. All things are possible”. Linda’s book, Don’t Ever Call Me Ma’am helps women of all ages tap into their power and live life to the fullest.

2 thoughts on “Mammograms – Are They Saving Lives?

  1. Hi Linda,
    I too have been having my mammograms faithfully every year because of strong family history of breast cancer. Last year my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer which was already in the lymph nodes (she did not have a mammogram for 4 years prior).
    Last week I went for my mammogram and they found cancer. Luckily, mine has not spread.
    For me the mammogram is a life saver. I can likely just have a lumpectomy and radiation, instead of losing a breast or possibly worse.

  2. There is a new or maybe just new to me diagnostic tool called thermography which the one offering it, boasted is a lot less invasive i.e. radiation etc… I am bad at getting mammograms because he scared me about how bad they are for me… now reading Cindy D’s own story… maybe I should make an appointment for at least one of them!!! Thanks for the info!

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