What is mammography?
Many women aren’t aware that a mammogram is actually just a low-energy x-ray of the breast. When the “mammogram” was put into use in the mid 1900’s, it was the best breast imaging tool available. But studies performed in the 1990’s and early 2000’s have shown that mammography misses cancer in over half of the women who have “dense breast tissue”. Unfortunately, many doctors still refuse to share this important information with their patients. The excuses we’ve encountered for not disclosing the limitations of mammography have ranged from “I wasn’t aware” to “I don’t want to scare patients”. The purpose of this article isn’t to engage in a philosophical debate over a patient’s right to know. Instead, I’d like to focus on the fact that there are better options available (which don’t even include the use of ionizing radiation) for patients who have dense breasts. These other testing options have long been available, and are far better than mammography at detecting cancer in women who have dense breasts. Two of the most readily available testing options include breast-ultrasound and breast-MRI. Countless studies have proven that ultrasounds and MRIs are superior to mammograms in detecting cancer in women who have dense breasts.