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Important mammogram news

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Taken from cp24.com

Getting Results

Women living in North America might want to get their mammogram test results double-checked.

According to new research, Canada and the U.S. have the biggest amount of false positives among developed countries, as far as mammogram testing is concerned. And British Columbia has the dubious distinction of claiming one of the highest false positive records worldwide.

The study suggests that just 4.6 per cent of Canadian women who learned that they had an abnormal mammogram really had cancer. And of the Canadian women who underwent a biopsy due to the results, only 27.7 per cent had the disease.

What’s the cause of the discrepancy? Dr. Cornelia Baines from the University of Toronto thinks that worries about malpractice suits might be impacting the testing. That’s because not detecting cancer is the key reason for malpractice action in the U.S.

Some other factors that could play a part the screenings include financial incentives and the varying ways different doctors might interpret the tests.

September 16, 2003
post #2 of 11
Thanks, Ady!!!! There's also the problem of false negatives, although I don't have the stats handy.
post #3 of 11
News like this is one of the reasons I will not go and get another one done. The last one I had done was in 1992. I was black and blue on both of my breast for 2 weeks I told my Dr. last month when she suggested that I go and get one done that there was no way I will go and subject myself to that kind of torture again.

I know that there is a certain health risk for me but I just can't make myself go through that again. It seemed to me that the persons that were doing the mammogram the last time got a small amount of pleasure in my tears.
post #4 of 11
That's been a major problem here in Germany, too. All radiologists had to take further training and be retested by September 1, 2003. Whether things improve remains to be seen.
post #5 of 11
I am convinced that mammograms do help in early detection. The current research results that indicate they do not increase rates of early detection still do not convince me that it hurts to "cover all the bases". But false positives, that is another story.

Knowing what I know now about the whole cancer treatment process, I would get a second opinion on any "significant" diagnosis.

And as for mammograms, my mother found her lump with BSE, it was of a fairly significant size, and her mammogram was only 2 months previous. And there are other women in her support group with the same story. So a proper self exam is still the best.
post #6 of 11
My Mom got false negative on her mammogram in 1991. She was always so good about going every year and getting hers done and they told her it was negative, everything was ok. She died in 1993 of breast cancer.
post #7 of 11
I have family history of breast cancer and have at least one if not two mammograms a year. They hurt but this is my life I'm dealing with. Since they always find something out of sorts (benign to this point), it is always followed up by an ultrasound. I have never seen these 2 tests conflict with each other at the clinic I go to (and I've been having these done for about 8 years now).

I'm sorry, but I wouldn't suggest anyone stop having yourself checked out because of this article. Find a reputable place for the test - a lot of it is in how the conduct the test and who reads the results. Ask lots of questions and ask to see the results. Oh yeah, and if they don't ask you to clean off the deodorant you put on that morning - find another place to go - there are ingredients in most deodorants that will distort the results - if the clinic doesn't know this, they aren't a good clinic.
post #8 of 11
I had I guess what could be termed as a false positive 2 years ago. Had to get a very long ultrasound exam. I figured they were being ultra-cautious, but you do sweat it out until you know for sure.
post #9 of 11
The problem with the health news stories about issues with inaccuracy of mammograms, is that people use that as an excuse to not get one. And still do nothing else. Breast self exams are essential. Mammograms are another tool. As are ultrasounds. It is really really important to do everything you can do to ensure your own health, and not just throw out one diagnostic tool because of critical news stories. And these are not medical research results, these are news stories.

And I think that the best diagnostic tool is a regular mammogram, which can detect changes. Which is really what we are looking for, not just one look, but to monitor changes.
post #10 of 11
more and more hospitals are acquiring equipment that lets an MD biopsy something that still looks suspicious after mammograms and ultrasound both look suspicious. They called them ABBI machines, altho I'm not 100% positive as to what the acronym stands for. Probably something like Advanced Breast Biopsy something or other.
That can help avoid more invasive procedures. Mammograms definitely do find things that are too small to be felt upon self-exam; the issue is more what the next step should be when they find such things.

I happen to have a family history of cancer which is so extensive and varied that it is "almost" comical.I think it's important in health related threads to remember that stories about a procedure that can be uncomfortable may convince someone not to get something such as a mammogram, and that's not what such decisions should be made on. I've seen that happen on a different board, in a discussion on colonoscopies, and they know those can save you from colon cancer without any doubt. (BTW, the way they seem to work is that the larger your busts are, the less uncomfortable the mammogram procedure is.)
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Definately keep getting them - but be carefully about the results.
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