Do you really 'need' a Mammogram?

mammogramAs Breast Cancer Awareness month comes a close, it’s only fitting to discuss the necessity of a mammogram. When women think of getting that “check up”, it rarely comes to mind that doing so could result in regret. However, growing research shows that more mammograms don’t always save more lives, but can instead have less than desirable consequences.
Many women have come forward admitting they wish they’d never undergone the rest. A major reason is that not everything treated by a “mammo” is a direct threat to a woman’s life. Research is beginning to show that some would be completely fine even if doctors left those so-called suspicious spots alone. Small, slow-growing abnormalities may never become a health problem. In this case, when treated (especially as cancer), doing so is “overdiagnosis”. reports that while questionable cells may enter certain areas of breast tissue, that doesn’t guarantee they evolve to cause harm. This is essentially what many physicians refer to as “Stage O”.
Currently, there exists no way to predict whether or not these cells will become cancer. However, most doctors take the “better safe than sorry” approach. This can sometimes be to a woman’s detriment, given that some have underwent profound over treatment– including lumpectomies, mastectomies, and radiation– when they could have remained healthy without such intervention. Additional research also shows that in some cases, women have been correctly diagnosed yet went on to lead long, healthy productive lives without extreme forms of treatment.
While it is vital that women remain proactive about their health and get routine “check ups”, one must consider the life-long implications of improper diagnosis. Some might argue simply listening to your body, and consulting a physician when you anticipate a serious problem. Others say to keep checking up at all times, and on the regular. Beware, however, of overthinking what could be health paranoia. In short, what you don’t know doesn’t always hurt you.

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