Tampa, Florida -- Local breast cancer survivors are worried women and men will be discouraged to get their annual mammograms when they turn 40 after a recent study said mammograms are leading to over diagnosis.
The study included about 90,000 women and followed them for a 25 year period. It said one in five women whose cancers were detected by mammograms were over diagnosed and that was leading to unnecessary treatment.
"I don't think, in my mind, that there is an over diagnosing because I think that is information that every woman would want to know," said breast cancer survivor of 14 years, Shelby Coriaty.
Coriaty did not have a history of breast cancer but went ahead and got her first mammogram at age 40.
"I came back with a clean mammogram, but then 18 months later I was diagnosed with breast cancer," said Coriaty. "Either way, I would always encourage people to get checked. We don't know what cancer is going to do. So if they identify there is something suspicious in the breast you really don't know how quickly that could change."
Dr. Ron Prati is the Medical Director for Florida Hospital Tampa for Radiology and he was discouraged to read the study.
"I would argue, yes we do over-diagnose a few people and this is why we don't screen older patients, but for those few that you over-diagnose would you rather miss the younger patients or the patients that do have a life threatening breast cancer by not screening them. I think most patients rather be screened, they rather go through a biopsy, they'd rather be sure."
He said his there has been enough studies to show that yearly exams at the age 40 help save lives.
"These younger patients if you are not screening them yearly and you give the cancer time to grow and you can't do a lumpectomy, now it is mastectomy or you get a cancer that's spread to lymph nodes, and again you are talking a 40-year-old woman maybe now you can only buy her five or ten years or less instead of a full life expectancy. Those patients are probably the most critical and it is sad not to screen them."
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