Could a screening mammogram miss cancer?


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Many women older than 40 years old have an annual screening mammogram every year as part of their preventative health care.

Those mammograms have long been touted as the best protection against breast cancer.

Tuesday night at 10 p.m., Ali Meyer has some surprising research about how many cancers are missed by mammograms.

Experts agree the mammogram is a great tool for catching cancer early.

But for about half of women, those with dense breast tissue, mammogram can be a miss.

“If you have dense breast tissue, the odds of the cancer being missed on mammography start going up dramatically; and by the time you get to level D density, which is ten percent of the population, they’re probably only in the range of 30 to 40 percent detection rate,” said breast cancer researcher Dr. Alan Hollingsworth.

Hollingsworth believes breast cancer may be missed as much as 60 percent of the time for women with very dense tissue.

Right now, risk factors like a family history of breast cancer will dictate when a patient gets a breast ultrasound or MRI.

“If we rely on risk factors alone, we are going to ignore the 80 percent of the population that has no risk factors,” Dr. Hollingsworth said.

Tune in Tuesday night on KFOR at 10 p.m. to find out when women should ask for another test. 


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