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Breast Cancer Early Detection: Mammograms Lead the Way

Jeffrey H. Dover
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Atlanta Auto Accident and Medical Malpractice Attorney

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1/23/2011
Jeffrey H. Dover
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According to the American Cancer Society, over 207,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. The disease accounted for approximately 28 percent of all female cancers diagnosed in 2010, developing in over 100,000 more women than the next closest cancer, lung and bronchus. Despite those staggering statistics, the future is getting brighter for those facing a diagnosis of breast cancer.

Screening methods for early detection of breast cancer are being implemented on a much larger scale than in previous decades. This is vitally important due to the considerable difference in the treatment difficulty between breast cancers that are detected early and those discovered late.

Some of the most commonly used methods of screening for breast cancer include:

• Mammograms
• Clinical breast exams (CBEs)
• Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
• Self breast exams (SBEs)

Mammography is an x-ray of the breast that is used to locate any tumors that are too small to detect by the hand. This form of breast cancer screening is highly recommended in women over 40, and has proven to be effective at detecting breast cancer in its early stages and at ultimately reducing mortality rates of the disease. Factors such as tumor size, breast density, and individual radiologist skill can all contribute to whether or not a mammogram ultimately detects a tumor.

Clinical breast exams are performed by medical professionals. Basically, this method of breast cancer screening is a physical examination of the breasts by hand, as the doctor feels for any lumps or abnormalities which may turn out to be cancerous. When used in conjunction with mammograms, CBEs can be very effective. According to the American Journal of Roentgenology, women in their sixties with dense breasts have nearly a seven percent improvement in mammogram efficiency when CBEs are also performed regularly.

Magnetic resonance imaging exams are typically reserved for those who are at high risk of developing breast cancer, because the tests are more sensitive than mammograms. The belief is that MRIs should be able to locate smaller tumors before a mammogram would be able to. Instead of x-rays, this method of screening uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to create a multi-faceted image of the breast.
Self breast exams are no longer officially recommended by physicians due to its apparent ineffectiveness at reducing mortality rates of breast cancer. However, they are still encouraged for all women beginning in their twenties. When this method is utilized alongside mammograms and CBEs, the likelihood of a tumor being detected while the cancer is in its early stages can increase significantly.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer in Georgia and feel your doctor should have detected the cancer earlier, please request a copy of our free book, I Have Cancer…Should It Have Been Caught Earlier?, and call an experienced Atlanta breast cancer attorney at the Dover Law Firm at 770-518-1133 to set up a free consultation.


Category: Failure to Diagnose Cancer


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