Usefulness of Mammogram in preventing breast cancer
In order to effectively treat a cancer, it is very important to identify cancer in its early stage for which there must be a good screening test that can identify efficiently cancer in its earliest stages. Breast cancer is one of the top 3 killers of women of all age groups and if left untreated may metastasize (spread) to other organs like spines, lungs and brain. Over the years, a gradual decline in the cases of breast cancer has been observed, which has become possible because of Mammogram, which is an ideal screening test, in terms of sensitivity, reliability and cost effectiveness.
What is mammogram?
Mammogram is a widely used screening test that is conducted in order to confirm or to rule out the existence of breast cancer. Mammogram is a radiological test ideally recommended in women with certain risk factors because it is least discomforting and very sensitive.
What are recommendations for Mammogram?
Mammogram is recommended in following situations:
- In any women who present to primary care physician with the complaints of a cyst, swelling or lump in breast, this is the first step to rule out any organic cause of lump. If mammogram is positive then other secondary tests are done to confirm the initial diagnosis.
- On yearly basis, in women above the age of 35 years who has a positive family history of breast cancer in index relatives (index relatives are first degree relatives like mother and sister).
Positive aspects of Mammogram as a screening tool:
The usefulness and importance of the mammograms can be estimated from the fact that it helps in reducing the death rate due to breast cancer to a considerable degree.
- According to the reports of World Health Organization the death rate due to breast cancer has been decreased by almost 25 percent in the women over the age of 50. This is all accredited to mammogram.
- Moreover unlike other screening tests, mammograms are the cheapest and most sensitive tools for early detection of breast cancer.
- Mammogram also gives information about any abscess, swelling or infection too. It also detect many deep seated cysts and lumps that remain undetected by breast self examination.
Negative aspects of Mammogram as a screening tool:
- e effectiveness of mammograMammograms may not be effective and useful in case of women of age over 50. This is suggested by the new research that thm is reduced with increasing age.
- It only helps in screening the disease whether the breast cancer exists or not, but calcification changes, which are a normal finding in some women may give a lot of false positive results (mammogram gives positive result when breast cancer is not present).
Among the various factors affecting the treatment of breast cancer, much importance is laid on the mammogram. Recent research published in the Journal of Medicine in England has shown that the mammography is the modest of all the techniques employed in the diagnosis of breast cancer.