There was a time when mammograms saved lives. Early detection of breast cancer is key to fighting it, and mammography used to be the best way to detect it. But now that trend is shifting, and self-exams are the single best way to detect breast cancer. On top of that, mammograms often lead to false diagnoses.
In a 25 year study of Canadian women, nearly equal numbers of women received either mammograms and breast exams or breast exams only. Their rates of diagnosis and even death were nearly the same. The conclusion was that mammograms do not prevent breast cancer deaths.
Perhaps what is more shocking than that is mammograms actually increase the likelihood of being falsely diagnosed with breast cancer, which can lead to unnecessary surgery and radiation therapy. The financial burden of a false diagnosis can average $22,000.
The solution is to perform regular self-exams. Visit your doctor whenever you notice any anomalies. Early detection is the key, and you are your own best diagnostic tool.
Check out this infographic to learn more about mammograms.