Georgia Cancer Specialists President and CEO Dr. Bruce Feinberg was interviewed by CBS recently about a new, large study that concluded only 6% of women over 40 are getting annual mammograms. CBS Health Reporter April Nelson reported the story, which aired June 21.
One of the underlying reasons for the drastically low numbers, as reported by Ms. Nelson, could be a woman’s fear of finding out she has cancer. Dr. Feinberg concurred, saying in the piece that a woman will get a screening test, find out she’s fine, and think she never has to go again. “These are the kinds of emotional responses we have to overcome because the reality is cancer is a chronic disease today,” Dr. Feinberg said in the story.
The study of 72, 417 women of all ages at Massachusetts General Hospital was the largest look at mammography to date. It found that only 6% of women over 40 who received a mammogram in 1992 received mammograms yearly for the next 10 years.
While not perfect, mammograms remain the best way to detect breast cancer, and Dr. Feinberg says women need to get the screening so if they do have an abnormality, it can be found as early as possible. “The earlier you find it, the better opportunity to cure”, he said in the piece.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and over get a mammogram and a breast exam every year. Younger women are encouraged to receive a mammogram and breast exam every three years.