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Mammograms Are Still The Top Breast Cancer Screening Tool

For years, studies questioned the effectiveness of screening mammograms. But doctors say they still offer the best chance of early detection.

By Steven Sparkman | September 29, 2015

When are mammograms worth it?

For years, we've been hearing stories about about false positives, studies showing mammograms might not save lives and reports on the amount of money spent on breast cancer over-diagnosis. (Video via ABCCNNRT)

But medical professionals still rely on mammograms.

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"Mammography is still our best screening tool for breast cancer. ... They pick up all but maybe 10 percent of early breast cancers. We have always said that a lady should start getting them once a year when she turns age 40," Dr. Debra Koivunen of the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center said.

"We have made significant gains in reducing deaths from breast cancer ... and those gains, in no small part, are based on women starting at age 40 and getting screened every year," Dr. Leonard Lichtenfeld of the American Cancer Society told CBS.

In 2009, a government task force recommended waiting until age 50, not 40. The advice has been controversial.

The task force's guidelines are at odds with recommendations from the American Cancer Society, the Mayo Clinic and many more. (Video via ABC / 'The View')

"The decision as to when to start mammograms and how often to get them is really a personal decision between the patient herself and her personal healthcare provider," Koivunen said.

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