Just as I suspected, 50 is the new 40. And not a moment too late—I’m turning 39 next year. So it is good news for me that a government advisory panel reported this week that mammograms should not be routinely performed until a woman reaches the age of 50, and then it should only be performed every 2 years.
But wait, enough with the tongue-in cheek cynicism. What exactly is science doing telling my doctor and me when I should have a mammogram done?
They’re not. Guidelines and recommendations are nice. But it doesn’t say that I don’t need to go to the doctor at all. It doesn’t say that I can’t perform monthly self-exams, nor does it say that my husband can’t tell me when my breasts look or feel “different.”
I personally had my baseline mammogram done on my doctor’s recommendation just earlier this year, so I feel like I’m covered at least for now. I am glad to not have to go through getting my “girls pressed” again for a while. I only hope MRIs are less expensive by the time I’m ready for another test.
So in response to the question, “what do we do now?” I would think women should do just what they’ve been doing. Keep consulting with your doctor, and keep doing your due diligence to protect your health. And you bet your bottom-dollar, that if you think you may have located something, you should rush to your gynecologist’s office to see what they think it is and have her order-up some tests.
This applies to everyone, regardless of family history, and risk factors. By all means, take it as a cue, yet another reminder, that you should diminish your risk factors as much as possible. But still keep a lookout for clues that something may be wrong. Read up on the “20 Cancer Symptoms Women are Most Likely to Ignore” (http://health.msn.com/health-topics/cancer/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100236870), and if the symptoms are overwhelming, get checked out.
I had a good discussion with my sister about this controversial topic of mammograms. She is daily in gynecologist and other doctor offices and hospitals as a sales consultant for women’s pelvic floor procedures. We agree that the hubbub is symptomatic of our country moving toward socialized medicine.