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breast cancer risk
american cancer society
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mammograms
Mammograms May Raise Breast Cancer Risk In Certain Age Groups
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Mammograms May Raise Breast Cancer Risk In Certain Age Groups

For years, the experts have suggested that mammography is the key to early breast cancer detection. While that medical test may be helpful in a number of cases, new research is suggesting that for some groups of women, it may actually increase the risk of developing breast cancer. The study, published in the journal, BMJ could not provide a direct link between breast cancer development and the radiation associated with mammography but is the largest study of its kind to date.

In the United States, there are no clear cut, official recommendations for screenings, however the American Cancer Society does suggest a yearly mammogram and/or MRI screening from the age of thirty for any women who have BRCA gene mutations. Those mutations push breast cancer risk higher for some women and may make treatment much more difficult.

The European based research suggests that the radiation from mammograms as well as other chest focused radiation may be especially harmful for women who are younger than thirty, especially if they have gene mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. About one in every four hundred women have one or the other of those specific gene mutations which may increase their risk of breast cancer five times. This gene abnormality is seen in its highest levels in women of Eastern European Jewish heritage.

In the study, more than two thousand women over the age of eighteen with one or the other of the specified gene abnormalities from Britain, France or the Netherlands were asked about any previous chest x-rays, mammograms and other chest based radiation, including how old they were the first time they were so screened and how many times the procedures had been repeated. More than eight hundred of those women were later diagnosed with breast cancer with more than four hundred having had previous x-rays. One third of those women also had had at least one mammogram around the age of twenty nine, on average.

Women who had had at least one x-ray in their twenties, had a more than forty percent risk of breast cancer. Similar exposure after the age of thirty, however, did not increase the risk factors for breast cancer.

Several European nations no longer use mammograms, opting for a MRI scan instead, especially before the age of thirty. In the US, MRI is suggested for younger women who have gene mutations and other risk factors, however, in some cases, insurance may not allow the MRI to be used in place of the mammogram.


Street Talk

Jane John  

Do insurance companies know about this and just ignore? This is scary. Thanks for the information.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

They do- the US has not established a comprehensive set of guidelines at all and most doctors are forced to follow what the American Cancer Society and insurance companies agree on. It took a lot to get them to agree to pay for cancer screening for women under 40 to begin with, but younger women tend to get more aggressive, deadlier cancers than older women do.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
Amy4  

Amie, I have been researching (as you know I have been battling this as well) and also found studies suggesting the pressure exerted can also cause tumors to spread. As you know, cancer travels through the lymphatics, spreading the disease. When "squashed" during these tests, some studies suggest, the cancer is pushed from its tumors and metastasis ensues. Yes, we are led to believe breast cancer is slow growing, but in some women it magically goes from a zero to one, or worse a two to four! The U.S. should definately get rid of this extremely painful method. Thank you for this article Amie!!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

The squishing also causes trauma (if it is painful, even moderately, the body sees it as trauma). That trauma causes the body's defense cells to increase which also increases the rate of other cellualar mytogenesis, even that cancer cells. The US should be using MRI or thermography for women under 40, definitely, especailly if they are in a high risk group. How is your health holding up? Staying strong? xoxoxo for you.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
Amy4  

Thank you for asking. I'm doing well. Starting radiation soon. Can't wait to get it over with!

  
  about 8 years ago
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