Disparities in guidelines arose because some people gave weight to the so-called risks of screening, namely the possibility of needing additional imaging and/or a biopsy for what turns out to be a false-positive finding. (A biopsy is a procedure to remove sample cells or tissue from your body to exam it and determine the presence or extent of a disease.)
While it’s true that one out of every 10 women who are screened will need additional images in order for the doctor to make a decision, and of these women, one in five will need a biopsy, I don’t readily accept the idea that women can’t handle this level of stress. I let my patients know that 80 percent of women who undergo a breast biopsy end up not having cancer. I believe that when explained upfront, it’s something that most women can accept—that the biopsy may show no indication of cancer. But that’s a good thing! And saving lives trumps everything else.
It’s also important to note that the updated guidelines were largely based on 2D technology; we’re now moving toward 3D mammograms, which reduce the need for extra images by up to 40 percent, while increasing the detection of invasive breast cancer by up to 40 percent.