Study Suggests Mammograms Do Not Reduce Cancer Deaths


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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- Do mammograms really save lives? A new study suggests they do not.

The new study out of Canada suggests that women between the ages of 40 and 59 don't necessarily have to get a mammogram as it might not save their lives any better than usual care.

A local breast cancer survivor at Sentara RMH disagrees with the findings.

"It found something that I, otherwise, probably wouldn't have found myself for some time," explained survivor, Susan Nelson in recounting her mammogram experience.

Nelson knows all about dealing with breast cancer. She's a survivor of three years and said the mammogram she got saved her life.

"It's just shocking because I'm 41, I'm healthy, I'm active, (and) I think I eat pretty well,” Nelson continued.

That's why Dr. Heidi Rafferty said despite the new research, you still should be proactive when it comes to getting screened.

"This study has not led us to think, oh, maybe we shouldn't be doing mammography," Dr. Rafferty explained.

Doing a self exam could save your life as well. The challenge in that, though, shared Nelson, is, "I don't think most women go home and do self exams on any kind of a regular basis."

However it may be found, Nelson said finding a lump early is key to keeping you alive.

"If you're really doing that, and really paying attention, then yes. You may well find something," Nelson concluded.

That's an idea she hopes more people will keep in mind going forward.

Dr. Rafferty says women should be doing a self exam once a month to make sure no lumps are developing. She recommends beginning the exams as early as 20 years old.


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