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Factors that Affect the Accuracy of Mammograms

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Factors Affecting the Accuracy of Mammograms Tyler Olson/Fotolia

Digital mammography is found to have more accurate results than film mammography. This is due to the fact that digital images are viewed on a computer and can be lightened or darkened. Certain sections can be enlarged and analyzed more closely.

The fact that digital mammography allows you to control images on a computer can make digital mammography more accurate then film mammography.

In addition, "use of breast ultrasound has dramatically improved breast cancer diagnosis accuracy," when used in conjunction with mammography, according to Memorial Hospital Breast Center at University of Colorado.

According to the Susan G. Komen website, digital mammography is more accurate when finding breast cancer in women who:

1) Are premenopausal or perimenopausal

2) Are under age 50

3) Have dense breast tissue

For women who do not fall into one of those categories, film and digital mammography are found to be similar in their ability to detect breast cancer early on.

It is important to note that new mammogram guidelines from the American Cancer Society that came out on October 20, 2015, state that clinical breast exams, either from a medical provider or self-exams, are no longer recommended.

After reviewing data from numerous studies, ACS has determined that having more screening does not always produce findings that call for treatment. In fact, excessive mammogram screening can actually be harmful. The ACS found that clinical breast exams did not produce early enough breast cancer detection to benefit the patient.

Clinical breast exams could result in a false positive result that could lead to more unnecessary intervention. A false positive result occurs when healthy individuals are misidentified as having cancer.

The most important thing to do is use a screening tool, or a combination of screening tools that are best suited to your health needs. Open and honest communication with your health care professional will allow you to craft a health plan that will ensure your well-being.


EmpowHER.com. ACS changed guidelines: how often should mammograms be done now? November 2 2015.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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