are Still Effective
the past few weeks, several published reports have raised doubts
about whether mammography reduces the death rate for breast cancer.
Statisticians and scientists will continue to debate this issue
for years. Experts at the American Cancer Society feel that, taken
as a whole, the scientific evidence still supports the recommendation
that women over the age of 40 should have yearly mammograms to screen
for breast cancer. All women over the age of 20 should also have
regular clinical breast exams and perform monthly self-exams.
Experts agree that mammograms can lead to the discovery of breast
cancer at an early stage. This certainly increases the number of
treatment options available to these women. Also, the chance for
a cure of early breast cancer is much greater than for breast cancer
found at a later stage. Of course, mammography is not a perfect
test and some breast cancers may not be detected soon enough before
they grow rapidly and spread to other organs. This is why breast
cancer remains a major priority for the American Cancer Society.
We are committed to further research on this disease and educating
women and physicians about the most effective screening guidelines.
The American Cancer Society believes that we should use the best
tools we have now, while we continue to invest funds into research
efforts to find better solutions for breast and other cancers. You
can be certain that we will continue to monitor scientific advancements
and make appropriate adjustments to current cancer screening guidelines
when this is warranted.
We have made many leaps forward in the prevention, diagnosis and
treatment of cancer. I would hope that the recent controversial
reports about mammography do not force us to take a giant step backward.
Women should continue to talk with their doctors about the importance
of regular mammograms. For more information about cancer and the
latest screening guidelines, feel free to contact the American Cancer
Societys 24-hour information line at 1-800-ACS-2345 or on
the web at www.cancer.org.
Robert T. Brodell, M.D.
Chief Medical Spokesperson and President
American Cancer Society,
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