There is a lot of confusion these days over what age a woman should start screening for breast cancer. Some doctors say as early as 40 and others say later. It seems the earlier the screening starts, the greater the chances are for false positives that lead to unnecessary medical biopsies, expenses and stress. Some fear too much radiation. Others argue the sooner the better to catch cancer in the earliest stages.
My wife and I have a joke between us where we refer to breast screening as ‘breast screaming’ due to the way many mammogram machines squish the breasts in the screening process. She always complains that it’s not only painful to undergo the screening but her breasts are sore for day or two afterwards.
Regardless of how uncomfortable a mammogram can be, it’s no reason to avoid regular breast cancer screening. Breast cancer is the leading cancer in women, worldwide. In the United States, cancer in general is the second leading cause of death in women. Breaking that down, lung and bronchus cancer accounts for around 72,160 deaths a year and breast cancer is second, accounting for around 40,450 deaths a year.
However there still seems to be conflicting reports about when and how often a woman should start and get breast cancer screening. If you asked a dozen doctors, you may be surprised to hear a number of different recommendations.
The Breast Cancer Social Networks requested information from more than 800 doctors throughout the country:
The bottom of line of when to start breast cancer screening is really up to each woman and her doctor. Regardless of when a woman starts screening, it’s important that she does, especially since so many women die every year of the horrible disease