Healthy Living

Oct 1, 2010 2:34 PM by Carina Corral

Study on mammograms further confuses women on the heels of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Thousands of balloons were released into Austrian skies and a huge pink ribbon was unveiled in Switzerland today all to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Increased awareness and early detection have proven to saves lives, but what doctors cannot agree on is at what age women should start to be screened.

The latest study comes from Sweden where researchers found women in their 40's who had mammograms had a 26 percent lower risk of dying from breast cancer.

However, a U.S. Preventative Services Task Force said, a year ago, women in their 40's do not need routine mammograms.

Cancer researchers admit it can be confusing. " I just don't think we should make any drastic changes based on any one study right now," said Dr. Jennifer Litton from the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas.

So what's a woman to do? Bottom line, it is a decision to be made with your doctor, but women need to be their own, biggest advocate by practicing breast self awareness.

" It's not trying to diagnose every lump and bump in your breast because most women have fiber cystic changes, but we're looking at something that is changing, something that is getting bigger and not going away with menstrual periods," said Dr. Litton.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 40,000 women in the U.S. will die from breast cancer in 2010, but there are also more than 2.5 million survivors among us.

Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990 and it all comes down to screening, which is why, locally, Templeton Imaging is offering low cost mammograms for $100 for the month of October.

Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center has also started "Never Say No Mammograms." If a woman feels a lump in her breast, she gets in for a mammogram that same day and does not have to anxiously wait weeks for an appointment.

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