Mammograms: What's a woman to do? - Omaha, Nebraska - CHI Health

Mammograms: What's a woman to do?

Article Date: Aug 15, 2011

Guy Schropp, M.D.As if women don't have enough to worry about between home, family and work – now they have to decipher what to do about mammograms. Wait until age 50? Push forward at age 40? The confusion swirling around mammograms have a lot of women wondering what to do now.

For Lisa Zeis, who had an aggressive form of cancer, there's no reason to wonder.

"Early detection is key," said Lisa. "If I had not conducted a self check and found my lump early, I could possibly still be fighting cancer that had spread or, even worse, not even be here to tell my story."

That's the bottom line for Guy Schropp, M.D., division leader of Women's Health Services for Alegent Health Clinic. He says guidelines are just that – guidelines.

"Waiting to begin screening until age 50 is not recommended by the American Cancer Society or the America College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG)," said Dr. Schropp.

In fact, the breast cancer screening guidelines issued by ACOG in July of 2011 recommend annual mammograms for women beginning at age 40. The group of physicians based their guidelines on outcomes, saying, "due to the high incidence of breast cancer in the U.S. and the potential to reduce deaths from it when caught early, we recommend mammograms every one to two years starting at age 40 and annually beginning at age 50."

Last autumn, the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force recommended fewer screenings starting at a later age – 50 instead of 40, which is the age recommended by the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Schropp says his patients are confused by the conflicting guidelines, but are more comfortable with earlier screening. It comes down to the relationship between doctor and patient. Women can have their own personal expert when it comes to breast health screening – their doctor.

The 3, 2, 1 of Mammograms

Zeis encourages women to take screening seriously. It's quick, it's easy and it's painless. Here are her top three things every woman should know about mammograms:

  1. If you're over 40, get a mammogram every year
  2. Do self checks throughout the year
  3. Do not put it off due to busy schedules – no excuses

Dr. Schropp offers two things women need to know:

  1. Mammograms can find a lesion a year or two before we can feel it
  2. It's easy for patients to miss something even with regular self exams

And the number one thing you must know:

  1. A mammogram can save your life - early detection is key

Reader Comments
Posted: Aug 25 2011 3:52 PM CST by Matt McCahill

I am 69 years old. How often should a
woman my age get a mammogram? I am scheduled to get one in Sept?

Posted: Aug 26 2011 2:00 AM CST by Matt McCahill

I recommend yearly mammograms for a woman of your age.

Dr. Schropp

Posted: May 9 2012 10:54 PM CST by Matt McCahill

I'm 60 years old, and just recently have been experiencing some discomfort in my left breast. Enough so, that it's become a concern. Would an OB/GYN Dr. be the right person to contact? Thanks alot!

Posted: May 25 2012 1:12 PM CST by Matt McCahill


You can see an OB/GYN physician, but we do have a Breast Health Clinic at Lakeside or Bergan that would be best.

Dr. Schropp

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