Who doesn’t love boobs? To make them beautiful, women wear contraptions to push them up and restrict their freedom – C’mon America, it’s 2015! To keep them healthy, women wait for hours in waiting rooms just to have their ladies pressed flat by a machine, i.e., Mammograms, i.e., ouch.
But since Oct 20, 2015, American Cancer Society has started to recommend fewer mammograms. While the society previously recommended annual check-ups starting at 40, they’re now pushing the age back:
“women with an average risk of breast cancer start having mammograms at 45 and continue once a year until 54, then every other year for as long as they are healthy…”
Annual Exams for Younger Women are Not Worthwhile. The Cancer Society’s argument is that women under the age of 45 have a very small chance of getting breast cancer, so annual exams are not worthwhile. For younger women, mammograms often yield inaccurate results and false positives. Often times, the false positive results lead to additional tests including biopsies and simply unnecessary stress and worry. In fact, the Society said “there is no evidence that the exams save lives…”.
Other Experts Disagree… Although the Society’s argument is strong, many influential groups still don’t agree. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends mammograms every year starting at age 40. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that from age 40-49, women should check every year or two, and past that decade begin annual checkups. They even recommend breast exams starting at the age of 19.
One-Third of Abnormal Results are False Positives. But false positive results are definitely a concern – one particular research study in the Netherlands found that out of 385 women who received abnormal results on their mammograms, only 152 were later diagnosed with breast cancer and the remaining 233 were all false positives. This got me thinking – normally when I’m at my gyne, I’m awkward about breast checkups (because #maturity) but I appreciate my doctor telling me that everything is normal and healthy because I myself have no clue how to perform self exams. But now that people are even saying OBGYNs should potentially stop performing regular breast exams, am I really okay with that?
Many people I know have been “diagnosed” with serious complications, but on their second, third and fourth tests at different hospitals, results turn out completely normal. This has made me a firm believer in not completely trusting the first result, especially if the it’s abnormal.
Ultimately, I actually prefer enduring the hassle of multiple exams because I see the importance of catching things early and treating them properly:
• 1 in 227 women around the age of 30 will be diagnosed with breast cancer
In my opinion, it really comes down to where you find the balance between false positives and getting a result at all. Yes, there are cases of over-diagnosis (like tiny cancers that are found but aren’t dangerous), but I’m a better safe than sorry girl; I’m okay with being a little scared, going in, and getting tested multiple times just to make sure I’m healthy #RiskAverseProblems. It should be noted, however, that some women find being called back for additional testing to be too nerve-wracking.
So what are you? A better safe than sorry girl? Or a let’s skip the hassle and the scare girl? And remember no matter what side you’re on, it’s important to learn the facts and not be afraid to get a check up when things are feeling different. We all love boobs, so let’s make sure we keep the ladies in tip top shape.
Don’t know how to perform self exams? Let this hot guy show you how to give your breasts some TLC.
A FEMINIST, who wants to eventually be an amazing soccer mom with flexible work hours. A CONSULTANT, who is thirsty for flight status and hangry for hotel cookies. A DOG LOVER, who plans to own a German Sheppard, Oreo, and a Golden Retriever, Cheerio. A PROUD TECHIE, who doesn’t enjoy coding. A SELF PROCLAIMED PRACTICAL OPTIMIST, who struggles with the difficult act of staying positive while battling with depression. #PositiveAttitudes