Kopans, a radiology professor at Harvard Medical School and senior radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, added, "Mammography screening is not perfect. It does not find all cancers and does not find all cancers early enough to result in a cure. But the death rate from breast cancer, unchanged for 50 years prior to the onset of screening, has now decreased by over 30 percent, primarily due to screening."
Some health-care plans have reminder systems in place, letting women know when it's time for their mammogram. The American College of Radiology offers consumers a reminder system, as well.
Women could come up with their own ways to remember, Kopans said. "My sister and her girlfriend go every year at the same time, and we all go to dinner afterwards," he added.
A free mammogram reminder is available through the American College of Radiology.
SOURCES: Nancy Breen, Ph.D., economist, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Md.; Daniel B. Kopans, M.D., professor of radiology, Harvard Medical School, director, breast imaging division, department of radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital Avon Breast Evaluation Center, Boston; Aug. 22, 2011, Cancer, online
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