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The value of breast-cancer screening

Imagine my surprise as I read the Nov. 22 front-page article about a new study disputing the efficacy of routine mammogram imaging [“Breast screens’ value disputed”]. Just one day earlier, my breast surgeon called to inform me that the two biopsies he had performed two days earlier showed cancer. The biopsies were based on my routine mammogram.

I have diligently scheduled annual mammograms for the past 15 years on the orders of my nurse practitioner. This time she suggested a 3-D mammogram, and I agreed. After receiving information that something in my right breast needed further study, I returned for another mammogram and an ultrasound. After looking at the images, my breast surgeon was pretty certain that one of two masses was a tumor.

The good news, if you can call it that, is that the second small mass was a tumor, too, rather than cancer in a lymph node, which requires much more intensive treatment. So I am having more imaging done, and afterward I will have lumpectomies and treatment.

I don’t think I could be more grateful than I am to have been diagnosed early, which means that the length and quality of my life should be optimal. Routine screening probably saved my life, even though the study cited in the article casts doubts on the value of the procedure. Studies are about statistics. I’m not a statistic; I’m a person, a wife, a mother and a grandmother.

Pamela Kincheloe, Manassas

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