But some experts believe the panel overcame the disadvantages of more frequent screening. Proper schedules for screening can vary from doctor to doctor, and patient to patient, and have become quite confusing.
“Many women may not even be aware of the guidelines, or that there may be a downside to mammography, and that they have the option to begin screening at the age of 45 or 50,” Dr. Jennifer L. Marty, assistant professor of surgery at Weil Cornell Medicine who led the new study, said in an interview. “In almost every other country, women start at 50.”
While many women may believe that “breast cancer screening hurts health.”
Dr. Marty and his co-authors, Mark Lee and Neil Patel, two Well Cornell researchers, decided to investigate the recommendations posted on the websites of some 606 breast cancer centers in the United States. He found that more than half of the 376 centers have recommendations that differ from the US task force, adding that women at average risk for breast cancer should start imaging at age 40.
And 347 centers said that women should not only start at 40, but continue annually.
More rigorous screening may be appropriate for some high-risk groups, such as Ashkenazi Jewish women, who are more likely to carry mutations that place them at risk for breast and ovarian cancer, and black women, Said Marty, who was undervalued in mammalian screening tests.
Women who want to help assess their personal risk to make screening decisions can use An online tool Developed by Dr. Margaret Polensky, A gynecologist at Well Cornell Medicine, and Elena Elkin, A research scientist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Drs. Marty suggested.
For myself, I have been on a two-year plan for some time. I do breast self examination regularly, and also get clinical breast examination done. So even though I experienced an irrational guilt after receiving the text message, I politely asked to stop calling a receptionist. I promised that I would be in touch.