A change in the sensitivity of your breasts, other than pain, might be a symptom of menopause, but it also might be something more severe. It could be mastic breast tissue, cysts, breast disease, or even neuropathy related to multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia. It can also be a warning sign of breast cancer.
The new government recommendations on breast cancer screening were surprising to many doctors, but I happen to agree with them. The government is currently recommending against regular mammography tests for women aged 40 to 49. The guidelines also downplay the effectiveness of self-examinations and advise that women aged 50 to 74 years receive mammograms every other year.The change in early detection direction came from a U.S. Preventive Services Task Force comprised of a government panel of doctors and scientists. They concluded that early and frequent screenings by mammography often lead to false alarms and unneeded biopsies without substantially improving a woman’s odds of survival.
I agree with these new guidelines. First, I have not been a fan of mammograms for some time. I find that mammograms are not nearly as effective in detection as some other tests, like MRI’s and ultrasounds. I also have found that even when I teach my patients how to complete a manual breast exam, they are less than effective.
I support the new guidelines because I think it will lead to better testing. The ultrasound is a better screening procedure that’s safer and easier and picks up things fast. I believe that women should receive ultrasounds every year as part of their routine medical exam, beginning at an early age. If needed, MRI or PET scans can detect lumps and bumps better than any mammogram ever could.
Eric R. Braverman, M.D.
Dr. Braverman is a Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brandeis University and NYU Medical School, did brain research at Harvard Medical School, and trained at an affiliate of Yale Medical School. He is acknowledged worldwide as an expert in brain-based diagnosis and treatment, and he lectures to and trains doctors in anti-aging medicine.