For decades women have been told that they should start getting yearly mammograms at age 35. We think of it as a no-brainer, and mammograms do save lives. But their effects are much more complicated than we originally anticipated. Dr. Joann Elmore
, who appeared on Adam Ruins Hospitals
, explains how doctors can do a better job communicating the facts with their patients about mammograms. One in ten women who receive their annual screenings are routinely called back for additional testing. This is part of the screening process in the United States, and a failure to communicate that with patients can cause unnecessary anxiety. Furthermore, many women are also overdiagnosed, meaning they might have cancer but it may not be the aggressive kind and we should discuss appropriate treatment accordingly. Joann recommends that women begin talking to their doctors about breast cancer and mammograms slightly in their 40s and begin routine mammograms, meaning at least every two years, between ages 50-74.
Dr. Joann Elmore is a professor of medicine and adjunct professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington, as well as an affiliate investigator with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Group Health Research Institute. She is joined by her colleague Dr. Janie Lee
, who is an Associate Professor of Radiology and the Section Chief of Breast Imaging at the University of Washington.