FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: October 23, 2015
For more information, call:
OU Medical Center/The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center
Office: (405) 271-7900
Cell: (405) 417-2401
BREAST HEALTH NETWORK PHYSICIANS STAND BY BREAST CANCER SCREENING ANNUALLY STARTING AT 40
OKLAHOMA CITY — When Gina Musae was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2011, the first thing she thought about was her 3-year-old daughter growing up without a mother.
“I remember looking at my daughter and thinking she won’t remember me if I don’t make it,” said Musae, 47, of Mustang.
Now four years cancer free, Musae isn’t shy to say it—getting her annual mammogram saved her life and ensured her daughter would grow up with her mother.
In a shift this week, the American Cancer Society (ACS) released new breast-cancer screening guidelines. It now recommends women 45-54 get annual mammograms and that women 40-44 have the “choice” to start annual breast cancer screenings with mammograms. It recommends mammograms every other year for women 55 and older.
When Musae turned 40, her gynecologist urged her to get a mammogram. When she had an annual screening at 42 after giving birth to her first child, Musae’s screen was clear. When she had her mammogram at 43, it revealed two tumors in her left breast.
Musae had no family history of the disease, and had no symptoms when she was diagnosed. She’s certain had she waited to get her mammogram, it would have been too late to reverse the disease’s course.
“As rapidly as it was growing, there’s no way we could have stopped it,” she said.
Today, Musae is grateful for her gynecologist’s advice as well as the team of radiologists at Breast Health Network Edmond and her physicians at Stephenson Cancer Center. She’s been supported by her daughter and husband, as well as her school family in El Reno where she works as a school counselor and dean of students.
From the time it last updated its guidelines in 2003 until this month, the ACS recommended screening mammograms every year starting at 40. This recommendation is still supported by the Society of Breast Imaging, the American College of Radiology and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
“As our shared goal is to save the most lives possible from breast cancer, the American College of Radiology (ACR) and Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) continue to recommend that women get yearly mammograms starting at age 40,” the two organizations released in a joint statement this week.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a similar statement:
“ACOG maintains its current advice that women starting at age 40 continue mammography screening every year…recommendations differ from the American Cancer Society’s because of different interpretation of data and the weight assigned to the harms versus the benefits.”
Breast Health Network radiologist Dr. Elizabeth Jett said the ACS guidelines, published Oct. 20 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, considered factors like women’s preferences along with the possibility of increased anxiety over false-positive tests and the potential of additional unnecessary procedures.
Jett said women should have access to accurate information to make informed health care decisions as well as peace of mind from annual screenings.
“Annual mammography beginning at age 40 saves the most lives, and we don’t want women to think they will get the same benefit from every-other-year mammography,” said Jett. “I want women to understand what gives them the most benefit. They can apply their values and preferences from there.”
Jett said reducing potential follow-up tests or false-positive screens by lessening the frequency of mammograms may sound appealing, but it comes at a cost.
“It also reduces the chances of finding breast cancer at its earliest stage, when it’s easiest to treat,” she said.
Jett said women should be aware of their breasts and alert to any changes, and discuss any changes with their health care provider.
For more information about OU Medicine Breath Health Network, visit www.BreastHealthNetwork.com and find us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/BreastHealthNetwork.
For video of an OU Medicine media briefing on Oct. 23, visit www.ustream.tv/recorded/76095635.
OU Medicine is the collective brand for OU Medical Center, OU Physicians and the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. Headquartered at the Oklahoma Health Center campus near downtown Oklahoma City, OU Medicine is the state’s largest academic medical complex. Among other things, it provides health care, conducts medical research and educates the physicians of tomorrow.
OU Medical Center is home to the state’s only level one trauma center and The Children’s Hospital, Oklahoma’s most comprehensive pediatric facility. Members of OU Physicians, the state’s largest physicians group, provide care at the hospital facilities and at OU Physicians clinics in Oklahoma City and across the state. The practice includes almost every adult and child specialty, and some of its physicians have pioneered treatments or procedures that are world-firsts. Find us on www.oumedicine.com and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as OU Medicine.