Most Breast Cancer Survivors Experiencing a Shortage of Mammograms

Once the woman successfully undergoes the diagnostic procedures for breast cancer, they are recommended to do further screening. This screening is necessary as it sets the basis for determining the likelihood of cancer returning.

If detected early, treatment methods are recommended before the symptoms can reestablish. Unfortunately, women are not getting the recommended mammograms. The black woman is the most affected one in this case.

Dr. Kathryn Ruddy, who directs cancer survivorship at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Rochester, Minn, explains that “mammograms are normally used to identify breast cancer symptoms prior to their emergence. This has over the years increased the overall survival rate.”

The Role of the Clinicians

It is the responsibility of the clinician to make sure that their patients are properly informed about the advantages of the yearly mammograms for screening potential breast cancer symptoms as well as the likelihood of a reoccurrence.

“When survivorship care plans are created and implemented on the basis of well-guided follow-up activities, the possibility of more survivors adhering to the recommended screening schedules increases,” adds Dr. Ruddy.

How the Study was done

To conduct this study, Ruddy and colleagues observed over 27,000 women who had had a successful breast cancer surgery. The follow-up happened for several years as the scientists collected data on their post-surgery behaviors. The data collected did not include women whose both breasts had been removed because mammograms are not required in this group.

After excluding those whose breasts were removed, the study was left with over 4,900 women that the scientists kept tabs on for 5 years. The area of interest for the researchers remained on how their annual breast cancer screening activities progressed.

Interesting findings were made. Approximately 50% of these women took a single mammogram yearly.

Furthermore, black women stood the highest chance of not getting the recommended annual mammograms. The absence of screening may be cited to explain why black women have higher breast cancer recurrence.

More details of the study were published in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Dr. Benjamin Anderson spoke during the journal news release explaining that “The lack of imaging follow-up was detrimental to the war on breast cancer.” The professor of surgery and global health medicine at the University of Washington added that more needed to be done in order to get the high-risk patient subgroups to embrace the need for screening.

Anderson is also the vice chair of the network’s Guidelines Panel for Breast Cancer. Some of his recommendations include increased education of the public on the merits of cancer screening and setting up screening clinics in poverty-stricken areas.

“This study is a clear illustration of how fragile our health care system is when it comes to tracking sizable groups of cancer patients once they are through with their cancer procedures.”