A few weeks ago, I wrote about my own mammogram anxiety and research into the problems with false-positive results. Despite these issues, mammograms are still the best available breast-cancer screening for most women. That's why it's disturbing to read a Kaiser Permanente study outlining reasons why women avoid getting a mammogram.
The question of how often to get mammograms, and when to start getting them, has gotten a whole lot more complicated lately. As we've written about before, the official recommendation is now that women don't begin receiving mammograms until age fifty, and then only every two years (unless you have specific risk factors that lead your doctor to recommend earlier or extra screening).
There has been a lot of confusion in the last year over what age women should start getting mammograms. Many doctors have been urging their patients to start at age 40, but last year a federal panel said that many women don't need to start until age 50. As the debate continues, the best advice is to talk to your doctor about how your medical history might affect your risk.
But whether you start at 40 or 50, there's a lot more you need to know about getting annual mammograms. Here are some tips: