Doctors and Breast Cancer Patients Question New Mammogram Study - - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Doctors and Breast Cancer Patients Question New Mammogram Study

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Breast cancer is an aggressive disease that affects one in eight women.

Most women over the age of 40 go in for routine mammograms every year, but now a new study questions how effective these screenings really are.

71-year-old Betty Murphy calls herself the poster child for breast exams.

She's diligent about getting a mammogram at Hillcrest every October, but last year something was different.

"So here I come on Halloween day, the last day in October, and I received a trick instead of treat," Murphy said. "I was diagnosed with breast cancer."

She couldn't feel anything, only a mammogram showed the cancer.

A new article from the British Medical Journal claims routine screening doesn't lower breast cancer deaths.

The study looked at 90,000 women from 1980 to 1985, and radiologist Greg Bathurst says that's one problem with this study.

"The technology has gotten a lot better," Bathurst said. "We're using digital mammography now, so the resolution and the pictures are much more clear, so we get a better picture of the breast."

Dr. Carlos Encarnacion of Texas Oncology agrees and adds that the equipment used in the study wasn't even up to the highest standards for the 80's.

"Until I get more solid data suggesting that mammographies are not important, I would suggest that mammography be considered strongly after age 40," Encarnacion said.

For patients who find out they're in the early stages of breast cancer, the technology is life saving.

"I had treatment for cancer this week and I'm back at work this week because of my mammogram," Murphy said. "It makes me feel awfully good."

Dr. Carlos Encarnacion says there's always room for improvement with technology, but for now, getting a mammogram is your best option and it could save your life.

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