Komen for the Cure

Study: Breast Cancer Survivors Gradually Stop Getting Screened For Disease

Posted May 8, 2006 7:18 a.m. EDT
Updated May 11, 2007 12:02 p.m. EDT

— Early detection is your best hope for survival against breast cancer, but a recent study suggests some people do not get screened as often as they should.

Screening Mammograms


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Twelve years ago, a routine mammogram showed Debbie Jacoby had breast cancer. Surgery took care of it but there's still a risk it can come back, which is why she is vigilant about screening.

"I have mammography religiously every year," she said.

But researchers say not all breast cancer survivors are doing the same. An American Cancer Society study finds many women gradually stop getting screened.

In the first year after treatment, about 80 percent of patients got mammograms. Five years later, that number dropped to just 63 percent. Some experts believe women who are breast cancer survivors may not want to think about going through the experience again.

"They're scared to go and they think that if everything feels OK, and they feel all right, they don't really need to have these screening tests," said Dr. Alison Estabrook, of St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital.

However, experts said the opposite could not be more true.

"Everybody over 40 should really have a mammogram once a year and those who have had a previous breast cancer should definitely have a mammogram once a year," Estabrook said.