Medical Matters: Mammograms

Since we are in our month of Breast Cancer Awareness, I thought that this would be an excellent time to have a chat with our breast imaging specialist, Dra. Claudia de Moral.  Every once in a while there is an article that surfaces on the internet, warning of the dangers of having a mammogram, that they are unnecessary and other very negative connotations. Ultimately it is a woman’s personal decision as to whether to have a mammogram or not! That being said, I asked Dra. Claudia to review this article that is now circling the internet/Facebook:

Of course, there are others as well.

I am going to have to break this article up into two or three parts, due to the length.

Dr. Claudia: First of all, you might think that there are many studies that “prove mammography does not work”. But in reality, you can multiply them by a hundred and will still be short of the number of expert articles in renowned medical journals that prove that mammography has reduced breast cancer mortality by over 30% in more than 20 countries with nationally or regionally organized screening programs (Sweden, USA, the Netherlands, Australia, Norway, England, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, etc.).

Secondly, I cannot believe people are still quoting The Canadian National Breast Cancer Screening Study in order to show that mammograms do not work, since it is one of the worst designed and poorly executed clinical trials in medical history.

Let me explain how a randomized prospective study in breast cancer screening should be done: You try to reach a very large group of women and randomly apply mammography screening to half of the study population. Then you follow them for years to monitor the breast cancer mortality rate in that group. The most renowned study in this field was done in Sweden and lasted six years. It showed a 31% reduction in breast cancer deaths in the patients that had a mammography and a 63% decrease in the death rate in the ones that actually had a mammography every year for the duration of the trial.

Regarding the Canadian study, volunteers were accepted so it was not population-based. Patients underwent a clinical breast exam pre-randomization, and those with lumps were assigned to the mammography group which meant that there were four times the number of advanced breast cancer patients in the mammography group, and obviously the death rate did not change for these patients. Moreover, the quality of their mammograms and interpretations were both questioned by many radiologists.

Next week, I will continue the interview with Dra. Claudia. In the meantime, we urge you to do your homework! We also invite you to attend our talk on “The Health of the Breast” on October 11, 2018 at 11am. We are proud to present Dra. Claudia along with Dr. Guillermo Ramos (plastic surgeon) speak on everything breast-related, from mammograms to breast surgery.

This is your chance to gather facts and to ask all of the questions that you want to regarding everything to do with your breasts! This is a no charge event but space is limited so to reserve a spot, please email me: and I will send all details.

I invite you to follow our Facebook pages during the month of October to see all of the local businesses participating in our month of events from special pink cocktails to discounts in shops!

Here’s to a robust week!

Pamela Thompson on Email
HealthCare Resources Puerto Vallarta is a multi-faceted, independent, resource network that is here for your TOTAL health and well-being. We offer English-speaking assistance to help find a physician, hospital and/or diagnostic service for any healthcare needs. As well, we are here to answer any health-related questions that you might have in relation to the Puerto Vallarta area.