What's Age Got to Do with It?
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we all know what that means; it’s time to think Mammograms. Do we need them? Even as we age and may be in – a perceived – safe zone?
The answer is you bet. According the American Cancer Institute Data Center, 2019 will produce a combined diagnosis total of 271,270 (both female and male), with an improving but still sobering mortality count estimate of 42,260. To break that down into statistics we can easily grasp, that’s one in six odds of not surviving this type of cancer. It makes the temporary discomfort of the Mammogram procedure seem minimal by comparison, doesn’t it? We couldn’t agree more.
But for those of us who may quiver in fear of the dreaded ‘crush’ between plates, there have been amazing advances in technology that minimize discomfort. Also, experts say that the unnatural mammary squish into the traditional machinery can spread cancer that is already present but not yet diagnosed. It makes it worth your time to investigate these new innovations who may be offered bear you. New versions of Mammogram technology utilize thermographic imagery and Mammography pioneer Hologic has created the ‘SmartCurve’ device which offers painless placement for your most tender tissue.
We know that women with genetic markers, and familial history should start screening annually as early as age 40. When we reach 50 to 54, continuing annually is universally recommended. However, patients 55-74 can often switch to biennial screenings unless risk factors are present. Guidelines surrounding mammograms for women 75 years of age and older have long been a source of debate. Now, a new study suggests a woman’s health status, and not her age, should be the deciding factor. The study was presented recently at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. In it, researchers suggest women age 75 and over who are healthy should continue getting mammograms due to the comparatively higher incidence of breast cancer among this age group. But women who aren’t healthy may not need to continue screening. The reason is simple. Mammograms aren’t considered as essential for women whose life expectancy is shorter. That’s an outrageous statement to make and it should outrage all of us.
The average life expectancy for a woman in the United States is 81years. Approximately one in four 65-year-old women today will live past the age of 90 and one in 10 will live past the age of 95. Dr. Onalisa Winblad is a radiologist at The University of Kansas Cancer Center. She is in favor of mammograms for healthy women over 75 with a life expectancy of at least five years. The age to stop screening should be based on each woman’s health status and not defined by their age,” she said.
The GetJanes mission: Taking care of your health should not mean not taking care of your health in comfort. We’ve created an alternative super comfy luxury hospital gown constructed expressly for patients everywhere! They’re durable, and get better with age – just like you! Check out our shop for some promotions supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We’ve got you covered.