Advantages and Disadvantages of Mammography Screening
Although it has its side effects, mammography screening is a program offered at a certain cost and in intervals, and is designed for the purpose of early cancer detection which assists in lowering the rates of deaths and also improving therapeutic options. Currently, mammography screening is the only proved method to meet the needs above. Starting with the advantages, the following paragraphs will expound on 3 of the benefits of mammography screening and 3 of its shortcomings.
The first and main advantage of mammography screening is mortality reduction but has a challenge in evaluation because death due to cancer occur during the advanced stages period making it hard to assess for this one type of cancer. Mortality reduction for women participating in this program is estimated to reduce by over 35% for women participating in the program an 15% to 30% to all women receiving medical attention.
The second advantage brought by the early detection due to mammography screening is the increased probability of early treatment since early detection leads to reduced chemotherapy, low number of mastectomies, and improved results from breast conservation
The last advantage is that there is improved quality assurance of the diagnostic chain where promising infrastructure has been put in place so as to optimize the coordination and cooperation of different sections of diagnostic chain due to the cases of detection without subsequent assessments.
To begin on the shortcomings, the first is that mammography exposes the women to risks of radiation and other risks with the digital mammography techniques offering a dosage of 4mGy per breast, whose effect however decreases with the increase in age, as women beyond 40 years have less chances of dying due to breast cancer.
The second shortcoming of this program is that there is a risk of a false alarm, where, like all medical tests, mammography screening may sense abnormalities which ask for further assessment and still turn out to be benign, yet only few women are recalled to take the screen again meaning that they may take the false alarm with them as the results.
Lastly, there the risk of over diagnosis whereby some additional cancers detected may not have come to affect the person if the screening was not done and detecting them does not reduce death rates and this can be proved by the fact that a screened population of the same composition and age tend to have more breast cancers than the unscreened population with the same composition and age.