INTERVIEW: New study backs annual breast screenings

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A new study is contradicting a report from a year ago that claimed that annual breast screenings were unnecessary.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said that annual mammograms are not needed for women in their 40s and are only needed every other year for women in their 50s.

Now researchers at the University of Colorado and Michigan have taken a second look at that data and have come up with a different conclusion.

Hopefully you're not confused. We're going to try and sort this out for you. Dr. Melanie Fidler of Radiology Associates of Richmond is an expert in mammogram and she joined NBC12 on First at Four to discuss the controversy.

RYAN: Which side do you come out on?

DR. MELANIE FIDLER: Absolutely, routine screenings to start at age 40, yearly. The new studies have shown that 65,000 women would die if they follow the United States preventive services task force recommendations of starting at age 50 and every other year.

RYAN: I think most people would think it's better to be safe than sorry. Why would there even be a reason not to do it annually starting at the age of 40? Is it a cost issue? Some of it is causing patients anxiety disorders and worries. So they get worried that they have to have this test unnecessarily?


RYAN: And when we talk about it, we talk about business of risk assessment, which is what the different groups are trying to figure out, but isn't that a difficult thing to do is figure out someone's risk? Around we really asking scientists to predict the future?

DR. MELANIE FIDLER: No, there are actually risk models out there that we can actually calculate patients' risk based on family history, how many biopsies they have had and a lot of other important things that the doctors need to know.

RYAN: So when you have a patience that comes to you that just turned 40, which is a relatively young age, and doesn't have any history, do you still recommend starting at the age 40, that they get a mammogram every year?

DR. MELANIE FIDLER: Absolutely, starting with a baseline of 35 as long as they have no family history of early breast cancer.

RYAN: Thank you for clearing that up for us. We appreciate you being here.


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