Keep getting your mammograms

BY MICHAEL ROIZEN, MD & MEHMET OZ, MD Published:

So confused by all the back-and-forthing about mammograms that you're about to just skip them ?

Here's a startling reason to schedule your next one . . . and the one after that . . . and the one after that: Working out a personal mammogram schedule with your doctor AND sticking to it could cut your risk for fatal breast cancer by 30 percent.

That's big.

Yes, there's plenty of controversy about this test.

Some experts (not all) now say most women should start mammograms at 50, not 40.

Some studies (not all) suggest that 1 in 3 cancers caught by mammograms would grow so slowly that they're really no problem.

And yes, mammograms aren't perfect: They can miss some fast-growing cancers, have trouble spotting small changes in dense breast tissue and turn up false-positives in younger women, which requires nerve-wracking extra tests to discover that there's nothing wrong.

Yet more than 200,000 women in North America develop breast cancer each year, and about 46,000 die.

Mammograms remain the best breast-cancer detector you have.

That's why we YOU Docs, and the American Cancer Society, and many others strongly recommend that most women (not all) start them at 40 and get them yearly.

Work with your doc to custom tailor a screening schedule for YOU, based on your personal cancer risk, the density of your breasts, your age and how frequently the two of you feel they're needed.

Personalizing your plan puts you on the forefront of the best breast care. Sticking with it gives you that 30 percent edge.

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