Research sparks controversy over mammograms

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OKLAHOMA CITY — The life-saving benefits of screening mammograms have been well documented. But there is a bit of a battle brewing among some breast health insiders. The recent controversy centers around recommendations about when women should start and how often.

Experts say fewer and fewer Oklahoma women are having a screening mammogram.

Oklahoma Breast Care Center Mammographer, April Menge, had her first screening mammogram at age 35.

She found cancer. There was no lump. No family history.

April believes all women should have a baseline mammogram starting at age 35.

“My mammogram saved my life,” she said.

Radiologist Dr. Richard Falk believes there has been too much misinformation circulating among women and their doctors in recent years.

He points to the 2009 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Mammography Screening Report recommending women skip screening mammograms until age 50.

Dr. Falk believes the research was false and misleading.

He says the calculations researchers used were shoddy.

Falk says, “The American Cancer Society recommendations are the best. That is get a mammogram at age 40 and as long as you’re healthy.”

Breast cancers that show up early in life are generally more aggressive than breast cancers that show up later in life.

That is another critical reason to start your preventative breast healthy early.

A screening mammogram costs about $300 but insurance typically covers the cost.

In many cases, it costs the patient nothing.

They say the best time to think about a baseline mammogram is age 35.

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