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Mammogram Confusion

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posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 06:25 PM
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I am going to disclose some personal info but it is necessary for this post. So here goes...I am a 44 yr female. I had my annaul "girl" exam a week ago and was told it was time for my every other year mammogram.. Ugh. I hate them. I get why they are necessary but, I hate them. Nothing like having the girls squished to oblivian. Then the waiting for the results. Fortunately mine have so far been clear. Now to the problem..

I am the wife of a retired US Soldier and we use military insurance Tricare. We live next to a military base so we utilize their facilities. I went to schedule my mammogram and was told by the clueless (more on that later) receptionist that they are now using digital mammography and not to worry if I am called back for another scan because 60% of their patients have false positives on the initial scan.


She went on to tell me that on the second scan my pictures would be read real time by a radiologist who would meet with me before I left and tell me whether I have the big C or not.

My issues: 1) Why such a high rate of false positives? So I did some research... and here is what I found out...ww5.komen.org...


One downside of missing so few cancers is false positive results. These occur when a mammogram finds something that looks like cancer, but turns out to be benign (not cancer). The more mammograms a woman has, the more likely she is to have a false positive result that will require follow-up tests. Studies have shown the chances of having a false positive result after 10 yearly mammograms are about 50 to 60 percent [31-32].


2) I would freak out if I was called back even knowing there is a high false positive rate. Wouldnt it make more sense to do the radiologist assisted mammograms and not employ these fear tactics?

I am seriously thinking of cancelling my appointment. I am not sure I can trust this place even though its false positive rate is consistent with the national average.

I also read this which caused me even greater concern:Unnecessary Cancer Diagnosis


Up to 70,000 American women a year are treated unnecessarily for breast cancer because they were screened with mammograms, according to an analysis in today's New England Journal of Medicine that's likely to reignite a running debate over the value of cancer screening. The study, whose results are already being challenged by other cancer experts, finds that nearly one in three breast cancer patients – or 1.3 million women over the past three decades – have been treated for tumors that, although detectable with mammograms, would never have actually threatened their lives. The study lays bare perhaps the greatest risk of cancer screening, called "overdiagnosis," long acknowledged by doctors and even advocates of mammograms, but unknown to most women who undergo the procedures.


Now I understand that mammograms save lives, but it also appears it can lead to chemo and breast issues that did not require treatment.

What are you thoughts???


edit on 12-4-2013 by k21968 because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 06:27 PM
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The scandal/ coverup/ etc in all of this? Simple. If there is such a high false positive rate and a known high rate of treating unneccessary benign breast issues with standard cancer treatments why does the government push mammograms for all women? Is this the government's way of helping the pharmaceutical industry by telling women they have cancer when they do not? I know if my doctor said you have breast cancer I would treat it, but now I am not so sure. I am really really perplexed.

Can anyone enlighten me?? Is this pharma/govt ? Correct me if I am wrong but chemo can kill you. If they are unneccessarily treating 70000 women a year that is ludicrous.

Why did the receptionist say this? It was almost like she was trying to scare me out of having it done. It worked too!

What does she know that I don't? What am I missing?
edit on 12-4-2013 by k21968 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 06:42 PM
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I would still have it done, and if they do find anything even after the second visit (if there is one), you can always elect to have a biopsy done on the suspected tumor. I had a relative recently have this happen to her and she asked for a biopsy to be done before they took any further steps, and the biopsy thankfully came back negative. Better to be safe than sorry in a instance such as this. Just my thoughts anyhow.



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 06:51 PM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 06:56 PM
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reply to post by k21968
 


arn't you twice as likely to get cancer after a mammogram? I think I read that some where



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 07:01 PM
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reply to post by digital01anarchy
 


Well thank you for that.
I actually just researched this and I have an answer to your question...Do mammograms cause cancer?


Mammograms use ionizing radiation at a relatively high dose, which can contribute to the mutations that can lead to breast cancer. You can get as much radiation from one mammogram as you would from 1,000 chest X-rays. Mammography also compresses your breasts tightly, which can lead to a dangerous spread of cancerous cells, should they exist. Dr. Samuel Epstein, one of the world's top cancer experts, has stated:



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 07:05 PM
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There is just a lot of confusion about mammography right now.

Better safe than sorry but, you should also consider if you have any of the risk factors for breast cancer..



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 07:10 PM
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Originally posted by kosmicjack
There is just a lot of confusion about mammography right now.

Better safe than sorry but, you should also consider if you have any of the risk factors for breast cancer..


Why such confusion though??

And I have normal self exams and manual exams by my OBGYN and no risk factors. No family history. I was just suprised by this and wish someone could explain the confusion...



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 07:14 PM
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reply to post by k21968
 


I live in the UK and get regular 'free' mammograms. It's not the false positive I'm worried about, it's subjecting your body to more radiation. Even the leaflet you get admits that the X ray itself can cause problems but they say the good outweighs the bad. But the stats are disputed and even experts disagree plus this is one of those things where we may only find out the full extent of any harm in the longer term. So I decided not to have any more.
edit on 12-4-2013 by starchild10 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 07:16 PM
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reply to post by k21968
 


I agree, it's ridiuclious.

I chalk it up to the the inherent competing interests/conflict between doctors, Big Pharma and insurance companies.



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 07:16 PM
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edit on 12-4-2013 by k21968 because: sorry



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 07:24 PM
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I've had three, about 5 years apart.
I'd rather check in the shower, often. That's the easiest time to check, while you're soapy.

The squishing can't be healthy, and then being radiated, while being squished, just doesn't sound like a good idea to me.
The idea of going in, getting a false positive, and having to go in again, just sounds like double squishing, and double radiating.

Too much confusion on something they should have figured out by now, just sounds like they don't have a clue.
We're an experiment.

I can't even imagine how painful a biopsy would be. Even just being squished is very painful.

I might check into thermography next, even if I have to pay for it.



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 07:28 PM
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reply to post by snowspirit
 


I agree with you 100%. How can "they" not have this right yet?? I never gave it a second thought until I went to schedule my appointment. EVERYTHING about the receptionist made me really think about it this time.

Maybe it is because I belong to ATS and I think of things differently now.

I just know her words were not normal and really made me think twice when I wasnt concerned going in.

Thank you for your input!!



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 07:44 PM
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reply to post by k21968
 


Careful self examination is the best screening method. Irradiating your body is self defeating. But the dollars the health system makes from the machine manufacturers all the way through to the providers is staggering.

Out biggest problem with health care is that $$$ are more important than your health.

As another poster has said, take note of your family history, it is relevant.

P



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 07:54 PM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 07:54 PM
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Originally posted by k21968
I went to schedule my mammogram and was told by the clueless (more on that later) receptionist that they are now using digital mammography and not to worry if I am called back for another scan because 60% of their patients have false positives on the initial scan.


She went on to tell me that on the second scan my pictures would be read real time by a radiologist who would meet with me before I left and tell me whether I have the big C or not.

My issues: 1) Why such a high rate of false positives? So I did some research... and here is what I found out...ww5.komen.org...


One downside of missing so few cancers is false positive results. These occur when a mammogram finds something that looks like cancer, but turns out to be benign (not cancer). The more mammograms a woman has, the more likely she is to have a false positive result that will require follow-up tests. Studies have shown the chances of having a false positive result after 10 yearly mammograms are about 50 to 60 percent [31-32].


2) I would freak out if I was called back even knowing there is a high false positive rate. Wouldnt it make more sense to do the radiologist assisted mammograms and not employ these fear tactics?

I am seriously thinking of cancelling my appointment. I am not sure I can trust this place even though its false positive rate is consistent with the national average.

I also read this which caused me even greater concern:Unnecessary Cancer Diagnosis


Up to 70,000 American women a year are treated unnecessarily for breast cancer because they were screened with mammograms, according to an analysis in today's New England Journal of Medicine that's likely to reignite a running debate over the value of cancer screening. The study, whose results are already being challenged by other cancer experts, finds that nearly one in three breast cancer patients – or 1.3 million women over the past three decades – have been treated for tumors that, although detectable with mammograms, would never have actually threatened their lives. The study lays bare perhaps the greatest risk of cancer screening, called "overdiagnosis," long acknowledged by doctors and even advocates of mammograms, but unknown to most women who undergo the procedures.


Now I understand that mammograms save lives, but it also appears it can lead to chemo and breast issues that did not require treatment.

What are you thoughts???


edit on 12-4-2013 by k21968 because: (no reason given)


Digital mammos have better resolution than standard film so they do pick up on more "positives", false or otherwise. The digital mammo that your doc ordered sounds like a "screening" mammo. Those results are reported on in a timely manner (quicker if there is an obvious mass). If you have a positive reading on that screening mammo, you will then be scheduled for a "diagnostic" mammo. Those mammos are read in real-time by the radiologist. (If you or your doctor actually feel a lump or see changes that are concerning for breast CA during a physical examination, the doctor will skip the screening mammo and order the diagnostic mammo straight up.)

Follow up tests are not necessarily invasive. From personal experience, I would have the diagnostic mammo yearly which was followed immediately by an ultrasound of my breasts to confirm that, yes, I still have a benign breast condition. But, between friends and family members, many women I know have had to have biopsies which, of course, are invasive.

I cannot comment on unnecessary treatment since treatment choices are a choice that patients make based on the information that their doctor(s) share. I've had a friend that opted for radiation treatment after her doctor said that a lumpectomy was all that was needed. My own mother decided not to undergo chemo for metastatic breast CA and her choice cost her life. She was a mammographer and she knew the risks.

I don't think the unnecessary treatment is for benign conditions being diagnosed as cancer, I believe that some cancers are treated more aggressively than needed.

Take ibuprofen about an hour before the mammo if you find them uncomfy. My complaint is that I just can't take a decent breath when I'm "in position"



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 07:55 PM
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reply to post by k21968
 


Hey im a guy and if they said hey let be stick you nuts in a machine that squeezes them and directly applies radiation to that direct spot to see if you have cancer I would laugh in their faces.
edit on 12-4-2013 by digital01anarchy because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 08:58 PM
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reply to post by k21968
 


And, I have read that the newer ones may make prettier pictures, but are not safer to have done.

I had a false positive once...and actually got to talk to the radiologist...who put my mind at ease.

The older we get, the more abnormal cells we have in our bodies.
They don't all decide to go haywire...and may never.
So, I don't worry about it much.....but try to eat foods that minimize free radicals as much as possible.


ETA
world-wire.com...
www.naturalnews.com...
edit on Fri Apr 12 2013 by DontTreadOnMe because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 09:13 PM
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I think it's a no win situation. If they don't warn us that digital mammography can result in frequent call backs for additional views; we get ticked off at having worried for nothing after we get the call. When they do warn us, we get stressed over that. Mammography isn't 100% accurate but it's the best we've got. The one thing I don't get is how many women are scared off of having one because of the bad stories they've heard about them from other women when the majority of women who have them say they're no big deal, my-self included.



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 09:27 PM
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Originally posted by k21968
1) Why such a high rate of false positives?


Many doctors in the breast cancer field err on the side of 'better safe than sorry". Unfortunately this translates into many, many women getting healthy breasts removed. Just to be safe.

In the UK, official figures show that for every death prevented, there are estimated to be three cases of overdiagnosis.

Does breast screening do more harm than good?

Link to previous post here


edit on 12-4-2013 by ollncasino because: (no reason given)






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