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My Doctor’s response…

 Two weeks ago I posted a blog about my 1st experience getting a mammogram.

I was surprised & heartened when Dr Peter Schoub, who did my mammogram took the time to give some added context by commenting on the original blog post. He shared some really pertinent insights I wanted to share with you all…

Dr Peter Schoub says:

November 3, 2012 at 10:56 am

Hi Wisaal,

Sorry for the late reply. I appreciate your honest and detailed feedback on your experience in our department. It seems that other than some excessive questioning and the cost of the procedure, it was overall, a positive experience.

Obviously the last thing we want is that any patient feels badgered or unwelcome when coming for a mammogram and I apologize if the tone of the questioning was unfriendly. The reason we are a bit over-zealous when doing mammograms on younger patients, is that radiology has come under some fierce scrutiny with regards to mammography.

We are strongly discouraged from doing mammograms on patients younger than 35. The reasoning is two-fold. Firstly, there is a fear that younger breast tissue is more susceptible to radiation damage from the x-ray.(the radiation exposure, is in fact minimal) Secondly, it is thought that younger breast tissue is generally denser, and that the mammogram is less useful.

On top of this, there has been a lot of opposition to routine mammography in general, as we are accused of “over investigating” women, and causing unnecessary anxiety and surgical intervention in patients who were incorrectly identified as having breast cancer. With this in mind, we have to be a little bit cautious with mammograms in younger patients lest we should be accused of over-investigation or causing unnecessary harm in patients for whom the guidelines discourage mammography.

Nevertheless, I strongly support breast examinations in any patient who wants it. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to catch this disease early. We try to ensure that all patients have as many facts about breast cancer and breast screening as possible, and will always endeavor to identify the earliest abnormalities. I generally recommend mammograms from age 40 as a routine (SA and USA guidelines), and from age 35, if requested, or in a higher risk patient. Ultrasounds would be done on any patient regardless of age.

I would be happy to do a breast cancer talk to any interested parties. Knowledge is power.


Dr Peter Schoub

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