mammogram

Annual mammograms at 40 prevents the most cancer deaths

 
When to initiate screening for breast cancer, how often to screen, and how long to screen are questions that continue to spark emotional debates.

 

When to initiate screening for breast cancer, how often to screen, and how long to screen are questions that continue to spark emotional debates.When to initiate screening for breast cancer, how often to screen, and how long to screen are questions that continue to spark emotional debates. A new study compares the number of deaths that might be prevented as a result of three of the most widely discussed recommendations for screening mammography. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings may provide valuable guidance to women and their physicians about choosing a screening regimen.

To uncover insights that might help women make informed choices about mammography screening, researchers led by Elizabeth Kagan Arleo, MD, of Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian, and R. Edward Hendrick, PhD, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, used computer modeling to estimate the possible effects of three schemes: annual screening starting at age 40 years, annual screening at ages 45 to 54 years and then biennial screening at ages 55 to 79 years, and biennial screening at ages 50 to 74 years.

The investigators estimated how many breast cancer deaths might be prevented with the different screening schemes. The team found that the recommendation of annual screening starting at age 40 would result in the greatest reduction in breast cancer-specific deaths: a nearly 40 percent reduction in deaths due to breast cancer, compared with 23 percent to 31 percent reductions with other recommendations.

“Our findings are important and novel because this is the first time the three most widely discussed recommendations for screening mammography have been compared head to head,” said Dr. Arleo. “Our research would be put to good use if, because of our findings, women chose to start annual screening mammography starting at age 40. Over the long term, this would be significant because fewer women would die from breast cancer.”

The researchers’ modeling also considered risks associated with screening, including callbacks for additional imaging and, in some cases, a needle biopsy, both of which may reveal the absence of breast cancer despite a suspicious mammography finding.

“Our results show the differences in the three current recommendations for screening mammography in terms of benefits and risks. Women and their physicians can use these findings to guide choices of when a woman begins screening mammography and how often she gets screened,” said Dr. Hendrick.

An estimated 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 63,410 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the United States in 2017, with 40,610 US women expected to die from breast cancer in 2017. About 33 million screening mammography exams are performed each year.

In an accompanying editorial, Otis Brawley, MD, of the American Cancer Society, noted that it is ultimately an individual’s value judgment as to how many false positive mammograms and biopsies are too many to save one life. He stressed that it is important to acknowledge the limitations of mammography and to make it a priority to develop a better test. “The ideal test would be easy to administer and accurate in women of all ages, meaning there would be few false positives and few tumors would be missed,” he wrote.


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Materials provided by Wiley. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Elizabeth Kagan Arleo, R. Edward Hendrick, Mark A. Helvie, Edward A. Sickles. Comparison of recommendations for screening mammography using CISNET models. Cancer, 2017; DOI: 10.1002/cncr.30842

View this article on ScienceDaily.com; “Comparison of screening recommendations indicates annual mammography: Starting at age 40 prevents the most cancer deaths.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2017.

 

New study takes on age-based mammography cut-off guidelines

As of December 2015, 410 mammography facilities in 39 states across the United States have already registered to be part of the National Mammography Database (NMD).
Credit: Radiological Society of North America

 In the largest-ever study on screening mammography outcomes, researchers found that there is no clear cut-off age to stop breast cancer screening. The findings were presented in November at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). This research adds support for guidelines that encourage screening decisions based on individual patients and their health status.

Mammography is the standard imaging exam for breast cancer screening. Guidelines on what age to stop breast cancer screening have been a source of controversy and confusion in recent years. In 2009, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released new guidelines which stated there was not enough evidence to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening mammography in women aged 75 years or older.

“All prior randomized, controlled trials excluded women older than 75, limiting available data to small observational studies,” said Cindy S. Lee, M.D., assistant professor in residence at the University of California, San Francisco. “There has been a lot of controversy, debate and conversation regarding the different breast cancer screening guidelines, even among major national organizations, over the past few years.”

Using data from the National Mammography Database, Dr. Lee and her research team analyzed data from over 5.6 million screening mammograms performed over a 7-year period between January 2008 and December 2014 in 150 facilities across 31 states in the U.S. The research team looked at patient demographics, screening mammography results and biopsy results. Data from over 2.5 million women over age 40 were sorted into patient groups by age in 5-year intervals (40-44, 45-49, etc.).

Four standard performance metrics were calculated to evaluate the performance of screening mammography for each age group: cancer detection rate, recall rate, positive predictive value for biopsy recommended (PPV2) and biopsy performed (PPV3). Recall rate is the percentage of patients called back for follow-up testing after a screening exam. Positive predictive value reflects the percentage of cancers found among exams for which biopsy was recommended or performed. Ideal screening performances would have a higher cancer detection rate, PPV2 and PPV3, and a low recall rate.

Overall, researchers found mean cancer detection rate of 3.74 per 1,000 patients, recall rate of 10 percent, PPV2 of 20 percent and PPV3 of 29 percent. Based on increasing age from 40 to 90 years old, these performance metrics demonstrated a gradual upward trend for cancer detection rate, PPV2 and PPV3, but a downward trend in recall rate.

“The continuing increase of cancer detection rate and positive predictive values in women between the ages of 75 and 90 does not provide evidence for age-based mammography cessation,” Dr. Lee said.

The findings lend support to the argument that the decision whether or not to stop screening should be informed by an individual’s personal health history and preferences.

“We know that the risk of breast cancer increases with age,” Dr. Lee said. “With the uncertainty and controversy about what age to stop breast cancer screening, we want to address this gap in knowledge using a large national database.”


Story Source:

Materials provided by Radiological Society of North America. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Read this article on Science Daily: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161128132213.htm

Important women’s health screenings that shouldn’t be overlooked

Routine medical screenings are an essential element of a healthy lifestyle. Many health screenings are recommended for both men and women, but women also should include some gender-specific testing in their health routines.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That popular adage can be applied to personal health, particularly with respect to women’s health screenings. The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group strives to better the lives of all women with a holistic approach to women’s health. Call for an appointment today: (707) 579-1102.

• Breast cancer: Both men and women can get breast cancer, but women are at a far greater risk than men. According to Breastcancer.org, roughly one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. The Canadian Cancer Society says breast cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in Canadian women. The earlier a woman finds breast cancer, the better her chance for survival. Cancers caught early are less likely to spread to the lymph nodes and vital organs than cancers caught at later stages. Recommendations on mammogram screening start time and frequency vary with age and risk factor, so women should discuss and develop an individualized plan with their doctors. Read the full story …

The Women’s OBGYN Medical Group of Santa Rosa Kicks Off 2015 with “Good to Be You”

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A look at how to get healthy and stay healthy for life – The Women’s OBGYN Medical Group invites women everywhere to become involved in the Good To Be You program and create a condition of optimal health and balance in life – discover that it is Good to Be You!

Life expectancy in the U.S. is at an all-time high, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last October. While the average expected age is now just under 79 years for both men and women, a female baby born in 2012 can now expect to live to 81.2 years, that’s almost 5 years longer than a male born the same year, who can expect to live just over 76 years. Knowing that we, as women can expect to live a full eight decades – barring accidents or major health issues, it’s a pretty good idea to adopt healthy habits as early in life as possible. A look at the trends to better health reveals that there are some very simple ways to optimize health, and make life worth living.

Living with a Healthy Heart

Some women are surprised to learn that heart disease is the number one killer of women, taking far more lives each year than breast cancer and cervical cancer combined. Regardless of age and fitness level, taking measures to maximize heart health is one of the most important things women can do to stay healthy. While routine preventative care can help, lifestyle changes such as exercising, dieting, and quitting smoking and cutting back on caffeine are all examples of the most effective ways to maintain a healthy heart.

Eating For Health

According to a 2011 study by Lancet, Japanese women can expect to live longer than most other women in the world, and experts believe it might have something to do with diet. The average Japanese diet consists of fish, seaweed, and lots of vegetables. The fact that they eat so much fish means they naturally enjoy high dietary levels of omega-3 fatty acids which is associated with many health benefits.

Including fresh vegetables in the diet is one of the simplest choices to make to improve overall healthfulness. A vegetable-rich diet is believed to help protect the body from arthritis, heart disease, stroke, dementia and a variety of cancers – and it might also slow down the aging process. In fact, one recent study found that people who consume at least seven portions of fresh vegetables and fruit each day have a whopping 42 percent lower risk of dying from any cause, compared to those who eat one portion or less. Additional dietary considerations to make include;

  • Studies also reveal that eating dark chocolate in moderation (two servings per week) is associated with a lower risk of heart failure.
  • People who eat nuts significantly reduce their risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, lung diseases, and others. In fact, people who consume nuts as part of their daily diet were 20 percent healthier than non-nut-eaters according to at least one study.
  • In a review of 24 studies, researchers found that women with low-to-moderate alcohol consumption had a lower risk of all-cause mortality (moderate drinking is defined as up to one drink per day for women).

Boost your happiness quotient

The happiest people are three times less likely to die over a given period than the least happy people, according to a 2012 study. It’s not just about attitude either, as happy people have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and they seem to have lower blood pressure which lessens the threat of cardiovascular issues such as heart disease and stroke.

According to a 2010 study at Brigham Young University friends are also part of the happiness equals long life factor as people with strong social connections are reported to have a 50 percent lower chance of untimely death than those with few social ties. Research shows that strong partnerships can also help people avoid illness.

A strong (emotionally supportive) partnership is also apparently helpful when it comes to adopting healthier habits, which of course leads to living healthier longer. Although we might think that intimacy is the key to a happy partnership, sex isn’t the only type of physical contact that can lower stress and improve health. In a 2004 study conducted by the University of North Carolina researchers discovered that both men and women had higher blood levels of oxytocin—a hormone believed to ease stress and improve mood—following a simple hug. The women in particular, had lower blood pressure after receiving a hug and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Ditch Bad Habits

Habits can actually be beneficial to overall health, because they’re automatic and they don’t require a whole lot of thinking, which frees our brains up to focus on other things. Good habits, like being punctual or maintaining a sense of optimism, or being courteous, or getting enough sleep and maintaining an exercise routine can provide motivation for healthy living. However, bad habits can also happen without thinking and can be damaging to health and increase stress, all without us being aware of them. Some of the basic bad habits that can be changed to increase overall well-being may include;

  • eating junk food
  • procrastinating
  • overspending
  • being late
  • staying up to watch TV or to play on the computer

There is one bad habit that has a very negative impact on health and that’s smoking. Never starting this habit is the best route to take but even long time smokers can benefit from ditching the habit as research finds that women who quit before age 40 live as much as a decade longer than those who quit later on.

Exercise – Get Moving!

Sitting for prolonged periods at a desk or in front of the computer may be necessary for many people’s livelihood, but it’s not good for the body. Research shows that women who sit for more than six hours a day have a 40 percent higher risk of dying from any cause than those women who sit for fewer than three hours—regardless of their fitness levels.

Exercise is hands-down one of the best things women can do to improve health. Exercise keeps the body fit, increases energy and releases endorphins—which in turn increases the happiness quotient. A number of studies indicate that staying active is associated with a longer life expectancy.

We might think that a “real” workout needs to be strenuous. But the fact is that simply walking, running, biking or swimming are all activities that are extremely beneficial to overall healthfulness. Just 2.5 hours weekly (about 20 minutes a day) of moderate aerobic exercise such as walking provides all the major health benefits a body needs to stay healthy.

Breast Health

Routine breast exams and general awareness of how to maintain breast health are important elements in living a healthy lifestyle for women. Screening methods such as regular self-breast exams, breast checks during routine gynecologic exams, and screening mammographies can all help to detect breast problems early-on. Early treatment of breast problems can contribute to the success of any treatment that is needed.

Self-check breast exams are easy to perform in the home and should be conducted monthly in addition to annual breast exams with your physician at Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group. Depending on your age and individual health, your physician may recommend a more frequent interval of regular check-ups with your health care provider.

About Women’s OBGYN Medical Group

The provider team of expert OB/GYN physicians, certified nurse midwives, family nurse practitioners, and medical assistants provides unmatched care to patients in our region. As women proudly serving women, we understand the needs and expectations of our patients. For more information call (707) 579-1102 or visit our website.

 

 

The Women’s OBGYN Medical Group of Santa Rosa Takes a Look at Breast Cancer Prevention for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Helping to increase awareness and save lives the Women’s OBGYN Medical Group of Santa Rosa reveals what women can do in their own lives to prevent breast cancer.

ribbon whiteBreast cancer is among the top two most common cancers in women today, second only to skin cancer. Although the number of new cases has begun to show a slight decrease, about 40,000 women are expected to lose their lives to breast cancer this year alone. Statistics tell us that about 1 out of every 8 women born in the United States today will get breast cancer at some point in their lives. The good news is that if it’s found and treated early enough, many women can, and will survive breast cancer. The drop in breast cancer mortality has been attributed to both improvements in breast cancer treatment and early detection.

Breast cancer typically shows up in four ways:

• during a screening examination
• before symptoms have developed
• after symptoms have developed
• when a woman self-detects a lump

By and large, most suspicious masses detected by a mammogram as well as most breast lumps will turn out to be benign or noncancerous and therefore do not grow uncontrollably or spread and become life-threatening. Microscopic analysis of breast tissue is necessary to arrive at a definitive diagnosis or to determine the extent of potential spread and to characterize the pattern of the disease. Tissue samples for this type of analysis are generally obtained by way of a needle or surgical biopsy.

The First Line of Defense – Early Detection

More than fifty percent of all cancer deaths could be prevented by making common sense healthy lifestyle choices such as not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating right, pursuing an active routine, and getting the recommended screenings. Early management of breast problems can contribute to a more positive outcome of any treatment that may be prescribed. Awareness of how to maintain breast health is important to living a healthy lifestyle that includes;

• self-breast exams
• breast checks during routine gynecologic exams
• screening mammographies

Self-check breast exams are relatively easy to perform at home and should be conducted monthly, this combined with annual breast exams with your physician at Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group will help to detect breast problems early-on. Depending on factors such as age and individual health, a more frequent interval of regular check-ups may be recommended for some women.

Healthy Lifestyle Choice Can Lower Risk

The American Cancer Society’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines recommends some variation of the following healthy lifestyle choices for lowering the risk of many types of cancers, including breast cancer;

• Be physically active and include a routine of daily exercise
• Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
• Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables daily
• Include whole grain foods in your diet (such as whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, millet and quinoa)
• Limit consumption of red meat and processed meat (particularly important for menopausal women)
• Limit “bad” fats (commonly found in red meat, fatty deli meats, poultry skin, full fat dairy, fried foods, margarine, donuts and microwave popcorn)
• Eat “good” fats (found in olive, canola and coconut oil, nuts, avocados and olives)
• Limit alcohol intake (no more than one drink a day for women)

Of all the healthy lifestyle choices for reducing breast cancer risk, the growing evidence associated with regular physical activity is perhaps the most impressive. Studies outlined by the National Institutes of Health now suggest that women who get regular physical activity have as much as 30 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who are inactive, and postmenopausal than premenopausal women show the best results. The benefit may be due to the overall effects of physical activity on body mass, energy balance and hormones. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity spread over the week (or an equivalent combination) is all it takes to reduce the risk of many cancers.

About Women’s OBGYN Medical Group

The provider team of expert OB/GYN physicians, certified nurse midwives, family nurse practitioners, and medical assistants provides unmatched care to patients in our region. As women proudly serving women, we understand the needs and expectations of our patients. For more information call (707) 579-1102. We urge you to contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians if you suspect that you may have any breast health problems.