American Cancer Society study sparks controversy

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The American Cancer Society released a new study suggesting women can wait until forty-five to get their first mammogram, but some physicians are skeptical about that conclusion.

“When I was forty-years-old I had my baseline mammogram done, completely clear and then one year later is when I was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer,” said Vivian Winslow, a breast cancer survivor. “It had not gotten into my lymph nodes because it was so early when it was detected.”

Winslow said caught it early and was able to keep it under control because of that. She was one of many under the influence of studies done by the American Cancer Society suggesting women start getting their mammograms done no later than age forty.

“So as fast as my cancer was growing, in that time period, it probably would have been in a very advanced stage if I would have waited for that mammogram,” Winsolow said.

But a recent study done by the American Cancer Society suggests that women can now wait until age forty-five to get their first mammogram. We spoke with one local breast cancer physician who said the majority in her field disagree with this conclusion.

“So when you start a mammogram at age forty-five you are concerned that you miss a significant amount of patients around 10% or more of patients ,” said Dr. Putao Cen , a medical oncologist at UT Health.

And when we asked Cen why the American Cancer Society would push back the age if they were putting more women at risk, she told us it is mostly to save money. Cen tells us it’s cheaper for insurance companies and patients to wait until forty-five because they don’t spend money on mammograms that come back clear. But it’s the women like Vivian Winslow who are being put at risk to save money.

Both Vivian and Dr. Cen said to consult with your doctor and just be aware of what your history may be as opposed to just looking at a general study