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Utah doctor debunks breast cancer testing myth

MURRAY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - Many Utahns wore pink to kickoff breast cancer awareness month today. Meanwhile doctors told ABC4 Utah a common misconception about mammograms could put Utah women at risk.
 (Copyright© Designs by Nan 2006,2007 Nancy Canzoneri http://www.designs-by-nan.com/freebreastcancerwrappers.html)
(Copyright© Designs by Nan 2006,2007 Nancy Canzoneri http://www.designs-by-nan.com/freebreastcancerwrappers.html)
MURRAY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - Many Utahns wore pink to kickoff breast cancer awareness month today. Meanwhile doctors told ABC4 Utah a common misconception about mammograms could put Utah women at risk.

Almost 250 Utah women died of breast cancer last year.  Jennifer Reynolds who works as a physicians assistant said she knew all about the risk, when she got a diagnosis of her own.

"I go the call and I was in shock," she said.

Like many women, doctors screened Jennifer each year starting at age 40.  A diagnosis at 47 turned her life upside down.

"I felt lots of different feelings, scared, a little bit paralyzed, alone, and just fear of the future," she said.

However, she caught it early thanks to a mammogram.

"It saved my life," she said.

Jennifer was not alone. 

According to Doctor Brett Parkinson, "Mammography is the only test that has been shown with the long track record of decreasing the death rate of breast cancer." 

However, he said many women forgo the test.

The reason may be that in 2009, the U.S. Preventative Services Task force recommended avoiding mammograms until age 50.  The agency said early mammograms often lead to over-diagnoses at the time and in some cases unnecessary treatment.  Parkinson disputed those claims.

"They made faulty assumptions by including very bad science," he said.

For that reason, Parkinson told ABC4 Utah mammogram screenings before age 50 are a must.

"When you really look at the science Mammography saves lives and we have many women every year in the 40 to 50 age group who survive and may not have otherwise survived those cancers," he said.

Today, Jennifer can be called a survivor. For that reason she urged Utah women and their families to make mammograms happen.

Speaking of results she said,"If you are negative breath a sigh of relief, hug your family. If you're positive breath a sigh of relief that they caught it and hug your family." 

Parkinson said Jennifer is an example of hope.  Like her, he said women who catch breast cancer early often have a nearly 100 percent cure rate.  He told ABC4 Utah that women need to take advantage of October, and get screened.
















 


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