Compared to the statistics of the women who did get screened, the numbers are shocking. 100 out of every 1,000 women discovered that their diagnosis of breast cancer was a false positive. Five out of every 1,000 women discovered that their mastectomies were not necessary. The same number of women who did not receive a mammogram died of other types of cancer as the women who did receive a mammogram (21 women). Four women out of every 1,000 who received a mammogram died of breast cancer; one less than the women who did not receive regular mammograms.
This tells doctors that women are living in irrational and unnecessary fear. Women are receiving treatments they do not need as the result of too many mammograms too soon in their lives.
What alternative treatments are available to screen for cancer? Dr. Esserman of WISDOM (Women Informed to Screen Depending on Measures of Risk) suggests an alternative method. She recommends that women only get screened based on certain risk factors. According to the breast cancer risk calculator, women might not go in for their first screening until age 45. They might only be screened one time in five years. According to Esserman, factors will include, “age, race, genetics, family history of breast cancer, personal history of breast biopsies and breast density, and genetic mutations and variations.”
Breast Cancer Risk Calculator
It might be too soon to tell whether or not these alternative screening methods will work; yet, the statistics that surround mammograms can’t be ignored. By getting screened only when necessary, women can finally cut down on the fear and unnecessary time involved with unnecessary treatments and procedures.