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New research out on risks and benefits of mammograms

DENVER – Researchers say the benefits of mammograms might not outweigh the risk of being exposed to the radiation, though it might not apply to all women.

This new warning says there shouldn’t be just one general guideline for all women when it comes to mammograms. How often a woman should get one should depend on her personal medical profile. That means things such as family and medical history, genetic risk factors and overall life expectancy.

Researchers at Harvard looked at the results of 50 years of breast cancer research and came to the conclusion that routine mammograms aren’t as effective in women with a very low risk of developing breast cancer.

Overall American women have a 12.3 percent lifetime risk for developing breast cancer. Not all medical experts agree with the recent push to scale back mammograms.

Mammograms are not always accurate. In fact, researchers say they miss about 20 percent of breast cancer cases and can lead to false positives, which can lead to unnecessary surgery.

Still, other medical experts warn that all women should get a yearly mammogram starting at age 50, earlier if a woman has a family history of breast cancer.