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Common Questions About Breast Cancer Screening


Breast cancer screening may bring with it a lot of uncertainty and confusion. Common questions include, at what age should someone be screened? Are there downsides to it? Are some tests better than others? Can men really get breast cancer?

First, it’s important to know some basic facts about breast cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in women. In 2009, there were 211,731 women diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States, and 40,676 of them lost their lives.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure reports that along with an increase in breast cancer screening rates, there are more cases of breast cancer being successfully treated. The key is not only early detection, but also increased awareness and understanding of screenings to check for breast cancer.

What are the age recommendations for breast cancer screening?

Age recommendations are based on a person’s risk factors, but they also vary depending on which expert you ask. For instance, when it comes to the average person, almost all agree that mammograms should begin at age 40.

As far as how often, the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen for the Cure recommend getting tested every year. The National Cancer Institute recommends every one to two years.

With those who are considered high risk, the age of screening depends on the risk factor. For some, screening might need to begin before age 25. Talking with your doctor is the best way to know when you should start breast cancer screenings regularly.

Are there downsides of screening?

One is receiving a false positive result. This can result in unnecessary fear, stress and anxiety. However, the benefits of screening far outweigh the potential for this to happen.

Another downside is that it could result in being over-treated. Cancer treatment can be harsh on the body, resulting in the loss of hair and illness. But again, it comes down to weighing the benefits against the potential risks.

Which type of screening should I have done?

There can be some confusion with the type of breast cancer screening that should be done. In general, a mammogram is the recommended choice for a routine screening. MRIs usually are only given to high-risk patients in addition to mammography.

A clinical breast exam to check for breast cancer signs is something that’s done during a routine doctor visit. This is when breasts are checked for lumps, and women may undergo a clinical exam every few years before reaching age 40 and then every year afterwards.

Can men get breast cancer?

It’s definitely not as common, but men can get breast cancer. The CDC reports that when it does happen, the age group most affected is between 60 and 70 years old.

Like women, when it’s diagnosed early, the prognosis may improve. However, regularly checking for breast cancer is only recommended when men are at high risk of breast cancer.

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney in Cleveland for Diagnostic Errors

In cases in which a healthcare professional fails to diagnose or misdiagnoses the condition, legal recourse may be available. This is only the case if the accepted standard of care is not followed. A personal injury attorney at The Becker Law Firm in Cleveland can help those who wish to examine whether negligent breast cancer screening caused a diagnostic error.

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