The American Cancer Society reports a slight decrease in women getting mammograms, an early detection tool for breast cancer.
In 2000, 70.1% of women 40 years and older received a mammogram. That number decreased to 66.5% in 2005. Experts think a 2002 study linking a common menopausal treatment - hormone replacement therapy - to breast cancer and heart disease might be to blame. Women may have stopped seeking a doctor for both menopausal treatment and mammograms.
Rising health costs, genetic testing, and false mammogram reports may also be factors.
According to the ACS report, doctors are afraid that genetic testing is leaving women with a false sense of hope. Those who test negative for either breast cancer gene might be skipping their mammogram.
Another plausible cause is the nationwide shortage of mammography technicians and radiologists. This shortage has meant more wait time, yet another hindering factor.
American Cancer Society Nursing Forum Findings from April also suggest women tend to over-report what screenings they've had. Women over 40 were asked whether they had a mammography in their lifetime, 77% said yes, but records showed only 40% had the procedure.
For a more pleasant mammogram, the American Cancer Society suggests:
- Ask for MammoPads attached to the compression plates
- Take a Tylenol a few hours before
- Don't schedule at a time breasts are most tender
- Consider digital mammography for faster results
Learn more about early detection of breast cancer