Mammograms overdiagnose and misdiagnose almost as frequently as doctors do. If a woman goes in for a mammogram as part of her annual physical, more than half of the time, it is not done right. Mammograms can save lives-but they need to be done right. The American Cancer Society has detailed information on when mammograms overdiagnose and misdiagnose, how to spot it, and what women should do if they think their doctor is making mistakes when they have breast cancer screenings.
Mammograms are used to detect breast cancer in its early stages. There are three types of mammograms. The first, called digital mammography, or DMR, uses sound waves to create an image of the breast. The second, bone densitometry mammography, or BDM, uses an advanced computer system to create a more detailed image of the breast.
The third type is ultrasonography, or UTM. This kind of mammography detects the tumor using special equipment that looks like an ultrasound, but without the heat. Because there is no need to heat the breasts, mammograms overdiagnosed for breast cancer will not show any sign of breast cancer, even though some tumors will grow very slowly.
Lastly, the fourth type is mammography, or MRI. This is the most accurate, but also the most expensive, form of detecting breast cancer. When women come in for mammograms, the machine takes an image of the breast and the surrounding area. It can also detect tumors if they are already there, so mammograms overdiagnose.
Unfortunately, the way that we are raising our children has led us down the path of breast cancer overdiagnosis. Today, most doctors do not fully understand how cancer cells travel through the body. This is why mammograms are not able to catch every single cancer cell that has taken up residence in a woman’s breast. But that is not to say that mammograms are necessarily a bad idea. In fact, many women find that they actually help them fight breast cancer and live longer lives.
So if a woman has a positive mammogram result, she should take it as a positive sign that all is well in the breast. Every woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer should see a specialist for a thorough examination. A specialist will look into a woman’s history, including the possibility of further breast cancer or other diseases. A good specialist will also order additional tests to be sure that the cancer isn’t present anymore than it would be.
It’s important that women go to their doctors regularly so that their doctors can keep track of any changes in the body and to make sure that certain diseases are not putting their lives at risk. Mammograms, as well as other tests, can provide important information about a woman’s health when used properly. A cancer specialist is just one of many medical professionals who can help women in need. Mammograms can save a life.