Health & Spirit

Study defines benefits of earlier, more frequent mammograms

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

When the Transportation Security Administration imposed stricter screening guidelines on flights into the U.S. this past July, people yowled about the longer lines and extended delays that those extra measures might cause. But, said U.S. security officials, the risk/benefit ratio was clear: Increased screening is worth the inconvenience.

A study in the journal Cancer presents a similar conclusion. Researchers compared three different recommendations for getting mammograms, and found that regular annual screenings from age 40 to 84 save the most lives -- even though they also increase the risk of false-positive mammograms and unnecessary biopsies.

The recommendations that the researchers looked at in addition to annual screening from age 40 were: (1) an annual screening from the age of 45 to age 54 and then screening every two years from age 55 to age 79; and (2) screening every two years starting at age 50 through age 74. They then estimated how many breast-cancer-related deaths could be prevented with each screening recommendation.

Their conclusion: Starting annual mammograms at age 40 accounted for a nearly 40 percent reduction in breast cancer deaths, compared with a 23 and 31 percent reduction with the other two recommendations (compared to no screening).

So, now that you have the facts, talk with your doctor about your risk for breast cancer and the benefits of each mammogram schedule.

Bonus: The Food and Drug Administration just approved a new device that may make mammograms' big squeeze less painful. A remote-controlled machine lets you participate in determining the right compression, so you're not unnecessarily pinched during the X-ray.


Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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