Michigan Cancer Consortium Helps Women Understand Mammogram Options

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

May 10, 2006

The Michigan Cancer Consortium (MCC) has developed a fact sheet to assist consumers in making informed decisions on the use of digital mammography in the detection of breast cancer.

“The introduction of digital mammography has generated considerable controversy and confusion among women,” said Max Wicha, M.D., chair of the MCC Breast Cancer Advisory Committee Digital Mammography Workgroup. “As a result, this fact sheet was created to address the frequently asked questions women may have about digital mammography.”

Studies have shown that mammograms save lives and that it is important for women to be screened no matter what type of mammogram they receive. All women age 40 and older should receive a mammogram as part of their annual breast cancer screening and a clinical breast exam.

Digital mammography is a relatively new technology, in which low energy x-rays pass through the breast exactly like conventional mammograms, but are recorded by means of an electronic digital detector instead of a film. A radiologist can manipulate the digital mammogram electronically to magnify an area, change contrast, or change the brightness of the image.

Digital mammograms are more expensive than screen film mammograms and women are encouraged to check with their health care providers to ensure the digital mammogram will be covered.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 7,070 Michigan women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 and that 1,360 women will die from the disease. Mammograms have been shown to save lives by detecting breast cancer early when in its most treatable stage.

To obtain a copy of the consumer fact sheet, please visit the MCC website at: http://www.michigancancer.org/WhatWeDo/positionpapers-digmamm.cfm .

The MCC is staffed and supported by the Michigan Department of Community Health and the Michigan Public Health Institute.