Is This Why Mammogram Recommendations Have Changed?!

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Scott: When you talk about the length of time that it takes for theses tumors, and recently mammographies have been, you know, we've been told that women don't need them now...

Dr. Sherri Tenpenny: Until they're 50.

Scott: ...older now, yeah, how does, how do you think about that?

Tenpenny: A couple things. With the, mammography recommendations have changed periodically over the years. They started annually at 50, then they say start your first mammogram at 40 and now just recently it's gone back to 'now we really think it's 50'. The truth of the matter is there's nothing magical about any of those ages. It's not as if, you know on day 364 of your 39th birthday, the next day when you're 40, everything in your physiology changes magically and so now it's time to go get an exam. It can happen at any age. There's lots of controversy about that. Actually we were the only country in the world really, that had dropped the age to age 40 for screening. And between the ages of 40 and 50, what we have found is that there were a lot more cancers that we were finding. But many of them are DCIS, ductile carcinoma in situ stage one, stage zero, that we treat VERY aggressively as if it's going to kill everybody. And we know statistically that's simply not true. That the vast, vast majority of DCIS is never going to kill anybody and that people will probably have it forever and they'll die from something else. About 90 percent of those cases. The problem is, science has yet to determine a way to identify which of those DCIS are benign and which ones are the ones that maybe we do need to treat a little more aggressively. So we treat them all aggressively. Because we treat them all aggressively, it's a cure rate, all these people we're curing of this cancer. Curing them of a cancer that wouldn't have killed them in the first place. What kind of statistics are that?


Dr. Sherry Tenpenny discusses the constant changes in mammogram recommendations. She also has some interesting facts about what mammograms find and how dangerous those cancers might be. Does it make these mammograms worth it?

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