Why is screening so important?

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Question from julie16: Why is screening so important?
Answers - Cecilia M. Brennecke, M.D. We've found over the last 40 to 50 years that survival is much higher when you pick up cancer in the early rather than the late stages. Performing screening mammography is an effort to pick up cancer before there are any symptoms, so screening, strictly speaking, is only for women who are not experiencing any kind of breast problems.

The research that's been done as far back as the 1960s shows that X-ray mammography is the only proven method for finding cancer before anyone suspects that it's there. That research was rigorously done and has never been disproved. This is truer now, I think, than it was in those days because the quality of the images we can obtain is much better and our awareness is much greater.

On Wednesday, July 16, 2003, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Breast Cancer Screening. Cecilia M. Brennecke, M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about mammograms, ultrasound, MRI, breast self-exams, physical exams by a doctor, and other topics related to breast cancer screening.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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