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New study finds that the radiation risk associated with mammograms is 20% to 35% lowered than previously thought

by , 21 July 2015

Good news, ladies!

You might fear mammograms because of the radiation risk tied to them. But there's no longer a need to!

New research has revealed that the radiation dose from a screening mammogram is 20% to 35% lower than they previously assumed. That's a significant difference…

But what's the reason for this lowered risk? Read on to find out…

Why the radiation risk associated with mammograms is now lower

The simple reason for this, experts say, is because past estimates did not account for the uneven distribution of different types of tissue in a typical woman’s breasts.
“The breast is composed of skin, fat and glandular tissue, and it’s the glandular tissue that’s potentially at risk from radiation during mammography,” explained lead researcher Andrew Hernandez, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California in the US.
Past estimates have assumed that fat and glandular tissue distribute uniformly throughout the breast, Hernandez said. But, recent research has shown that the different tissue types are actually more “mixed” than that, he said.

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How often you should screen for breast cancer

The American Cancer Society and other groups recommend that women at average risk of breast cancer begin having yearly mammograms at age 40. But the US Preventive Services Task Force — an independent panel that advises the government — recommends starting at age 50, then having mammograms every other year.
If women want to begin screening earlier than that, the task force says they should discuss the pros and cons with their doctor before making a decision.
These new findings offer women extra reassurance that the radiation dose from mammography is quite low. But they won’t affect any general recommendations on screening, researchers say.

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