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Debra Somers Copit, MD
Debra Somers Copit, MD, Director, Breast Imaging at Einstein Medical Center, offers the following commentary in response to study results published this week in the Annals of Family Medicine by researchers at the University of Copenhagen showing that women may suffer psychologically long after the scare of a false-positive mammogram: Periodically there are articles that investigate the "negative effects" of a mammogram. Most point to the fact that mammograms may lead to biopsies that result in benign (non-cancerous) disease. Over 90% of screening mammograms are normal and the number of patients who undergo "unnecessary" biopsies is an even smaller percentage. I have spoken to thousands of women over the past 18 years as a dedicated breast imager. It is the rare patient who doesn't prefer the safe rather than sorry approach when we do have to recommend a biopsy. Most are so relieved that their results are benign that they do not look at the experience of their mammogram or a biopsy as negative. With the advancements in breast biopsy technology, most biopsies are done as an outpatient without surgery and no scarring so that the experience has become much less involved than years ago. Mammography remains the best test to detect breast cancer. Until we develop a different way of detecting breast cancer, yearly mammography is still recommended.(See the abstract to the study here.)