Dr. Oz Speaks about Mammograms and Breast Examinations
Posted Nov 21 2009 10:01pm
Dr. Oz makes a good point here in the fact that he disagrees with doctors not advising patients to conduct their own self exam and I agree with that as well, after all you know your body more than anyone else. He thinks the debate will continue and states we are looking at exposure and diagnosis together as a package, with results and numbers analyzed. Overall we still don’t have a clear answer to mammograms and I predict this will go on for a while just as is the PSA testing for men. Myself I believe in doing self exams as one I found resulted in removal and lucky it was benign. My feeling were though if it is in there, get it out now. BD
A major reason for the heated response to the screening guidelines has been the lack of clear understanding about what, exactly, a medical task force does. These groups consist of impartial and unbiased experts from various specialties who synthesize the latest scientific evidence to guide practicing physicians. Half of the task force members are women.
The recommendations are sometimes controversial, but it’s important to remember they’re designed to maximize benefits of screening while minimizing its risks. Of course there are many women who have had life-saving mammograms in their 40s and even 30s. Their stories are valid and important.
But, when looking at the bigger picture, the task force has decided that younger woman, on the average, are likelier to get unneeded biopsies or procedures, or to have tumors missed altogether, than to have a true cancer detected early on. Nonetheless, I think it’s healthy to have an open debate. It’s essential to keeping medicine self-reflective and accountable.
Moreover, the USPSTF recommendations on mammograms are not a blanket, one-size-fits-all prescription for every woman. Guidelines should never replace a dialogue with your own doctor that considers your individual risk. After all, you are the expert of your own body. That’s also why I disagree with the recommendation that physicians not focus on teaching breast self-exams. I continue to advise and encourage women to examine their breasts.
Studies show that, especially in younger women, many breast tumors are first detected during self-exam.