Doctors clear up confusion with mammograms

Clearing up mammogram confusion

SAN ANTONIO - One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. However, there is conflicting information about when women should get screened.

For many years, there was a one-size-fits-all model where women would get screened at age 40, and every year after that, as long as they were in good health.

A few organizations altered that belief in recent years, leading to this confusion.

"When you look at all the data, all the groups out there agree that screening more frequently and screening early will detect more cancers and will ultimately lead to more breast cancer survivors," said Dr. Justin Boatsman of the South Texas Radiology Imaging Center.

One of those survivors is Rebeca Hyson. She is the director of the South Texas Radiology Imaging Center on Nacogdoches Road.

In Dec. of 2014, the center got new equipment that needed testing. "They needed volunteers, but I wasn't due for my mammogram until the end of December," Hyson said.

Doctors discovered she needed a biopsy. The result left her numb.

"[The doctor] ended up looking at two areas on my left breast. I got the call in the next day that it was cancerous, and that it was malignant. In Jan. 2015, I had a double mastectomy, breast reconstruction and the whole works," she said.

Now, she's cancer free and urges every woman to get screenings yearly.

"It is scary. You don't want to hear the news, but if you get that news, the earlier you get it [the better]," Hyson said.

In 2009, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommended women start getting screened at age 50, then every other year.

The American Cancer Society advises beginning at age 40, then every year until 55 and every year or two after that.

Boatsman said most agree in the fine print.

"The traditional guidelines still followed by many is [starting at age] 40 and annually," he said.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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