How Effective are Mammograms and Breast Self-Exams?

Two recent studies challenge the long-held beliefs that mammography and breast self-exam are essential tools for monitoring your breast health. Here's what you need to know.
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The firestorm of controversy first arose in 2000 when a Canadian study raised questions about life expectancy rates for women who received yearly mammograms versus those who had not. Then came the second surprising report, when the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (October 2, 2002) published the results of a recent study concluding that breast self-exams did not necessarily increase life expectancy, either.

For a woman trying to make decisions about protecting her breast health, deciphering the smoke signals can feel confusing, at best. What should a woman do to protect herself?

Continued on page 2:  The Mammogram Controversy


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