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Mammograms help diagnose cancer early and save lives

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According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. It’s also one of the most treatable.

The American Cancer Society’s estimates that 297,790 cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in 2023. Fortunately, breast cancer can be caught early with a mammogram.

Research shows that women who get their routine mammograms are less likely to need aggressive treatment to remove the cancer.

According to the ACC, women ages 40-44 have the option to start screening for breast cancer as a precaution, especially if breast cancer is genetic in their family. Women ages 45-54 should get mammograms once a year. Those who are 55 and older can continue their yearly exams, or switch to every other year.

Some doctors also suggest at-home breast examinations in addition to mammograms. This includes feeling the breasts for lumps and noticing if any fluid is coming out of the nipples.

But others argue that it’s not necessary if you’re getting routinely examined. A 2008 study suggests that breast self-exams don’t actually reduce breast cancer deaths. But they do lead to an increase in biopsies that resulted in no cancer being found.

What questions do you have about preventative care and catching breast cancer early? Do you have a breast cancer story you’d like to share? How has breast cancer impacted you or someone you know?


Dr. Luke Newton is a professor and division director of the Department of General Obstetrics and Gynecology at UT Health San Antonio.

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255 or email thesource@tpr.org.

This interview will be recorded on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi