Digital mammograms better for younger women

By Lauren Edwards • Published: May 12th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to catching breast cancer, it could save lives, too.

According to U-S researchers, digital mammograms are much better than those using traditional film at catching breast cancer in younger women. Although more costly than film mammograms, many believe digital exams are the way to go for women under fifty or for those who have dense breasts. Dense breast tissue can often make traditional mammograms more difficult to read, and studies have shown that women with dense breasts are typically not only younger, but also have a higher risk of developing cancer.

Another benefit? Digital mammograms can be stored on computers and sent electronically, making information transfer easier. They also use less radiation than film mammograms.

Although the technology likely comes as welcome news for many women, experts say those over 65 or women who have fatty breast tissue are better off opting for traditional film mammograms.

Regardless of age or type of breast tissue, the American Cancer Society recommends that women forty or older get a yearly mammogram. If you’re under fifty or know you have dense breast tissue, you might want to talk to your doctor about getting a digital mammogram instead.

The World Health Organization projects that more than one-point-two million people will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Early detection is key to saving lives, and mammograms… both film and digital… can make all the difference in the world.