April 3, 2000 (Chantilly, Va.) -- If ever there were a case for strength in
numbers, mammography may be it, say breast cancer experts.
Women seeking mammograms can find the highest quality screenings from
radiologists and doctors who have years of experience performing and reading
mammograms on a daily basis. Also, those organizations that meet high
professional standards of safety and quality should display a Food and Drug
Elyse Caplan remembers it well, that first conversation with her oncologist.
She had just been diagnosed with stage IIB breast cancer, and they were
discussing the game plan for treatment. If her oncologist mentioned
"recurrence" -- the possibility that her cancer could return -- it was
lost on her, she says.
"You sit through an hour-long appointment and take notes, but when the
doctor says one thing that's very upsetting, you just freeze," she tells
WebMD. "You're thinking, 'I'm going to...
"I think it is important that women know that they are at a certified
mammogram center, so they know that the machines are evaluated on an annual
basis,'' says Barbara Brenner, Executive Director of Breast Cancer Action, a
San Francisco-based advocacy group.
"And we always tell women under 50 that when they decide to have their
first mammogram, they should schedule time right after the screening to sit
down and ask questions. They should go to a place that will show them the
pictures and answer questions about what can and cannot be seen.''
According to the American Cancer Society, women should go to the same
facility every year, if possible, so that new and old mammograms can be
compared. The society also recommends that women take copies of their
mammograms with them if they move, so that doctors at their new facility can do
Michael D. Towle writes regularly for WebMD on health and