Articles, Blog

Should Women Get Mammograms Starting at Age 40?

August 27, 2019

[Music] various Health Organization’s offer clashing mammogram recommendations that range from annual mammograms starting at age 40 to eliminating routine mammograms altogether it’s hard to know who to trust given all the various conflicts of interest but a good place to start is a USPSTF the US Preventive Services Task Force whose 2009 recommendations ignited a firestorm of controversy by recommending pushing back routine mammograms from age 40 to 50 and doing them every other year instead of annually this evoke too Swift and decidedly passionate condemnation from members of the public of the media and medicine most people have never even heard of the USPSTF but it’s considered the leading independent panel of non-governmental experts when it comes to prevention consider the gold standard for preventative care since they have a reputation of sticking more with the science for example recommending against teaching women to do breast self-exams why because it doesn’t appear to work it was put to the test hundreds of thousands of women randomized to do self exams or not and no benefit in fact only harms doubling the number of women who had to get biopsies taken but not actually shown to decrease the risk of getting breast cancer or dying from breast cancer it didn’t catch tumors in earlier stages and now to be clear they didn’t come out against breast self-examination but against teaching women how to do them reminding them to do them only appears to cause harm with no benefit if you do discover an abnormality then definitely tell your doctor but telling women to get into the practice of looking seems to do more harm than good get most doctors continue to teach women to perform self exams but wait it’s not been shown to help and in fact has been shown to harm so why do doctors keep doing it because that’s just what we’ve been telling women forever so there’s this medical inertia that may trump women’s health even without a multi-billion dollar industry pushing for the practice to continue even without big business tipping the scales now consider mammograms billions of dollars of revenue every year from sticking with the status quo maybe that seven point eight billion dollars spent annually on mammograms might be better spent on something else of course one person’s cost is another person’s income these billions of extra dollars from the status quo may best explain the organized resistance to the USPSTF panel conclusion for example breast radiologists denounced the panel implying that the panel members were guilty of a callous disregard for the life and well-being of women all while the American College of Radiology is receiving millions of dollars of donations from mammogram machine manufacturers yeah but in the case of self exams it was put to the test the science was clear it’s a no brainer that harms outweigh the benefits when apparently there are no benefits and this same appears to be the case with starting mammograms at age forty it was put to the test to specifically address the population wide efficacy of mammography screening starting at age 40 and it started out looking like it might help but ultimately failed to show any benefit in terms of lowering one’s risk of dying from breast cancer instead they just found harms so-called over diagnosis although chemo radiation and surgery from the detections of what looked like cancer but may have never caused any problems had they never been picked up so it may have just resulted in like unnecessary mastectomy z’ get when the USBs you have tried to explain that again in their 2016 recommendations the firestorm was reignited with full page ads taken out in major papers asking which of our mothers wives daughters and sisters would it be okay to lose but that misrepresents the science disrespecting women rather than saving their lives it’s time to douse the flames clear the smoke so we can clearly see what the evidence shows evidence evidence said Congress who snuck in some language to interpret any reference to current USPSTF breast cancer screening recommendation to mean those issued before 2009 in other words it’s 2002 recommendations that recommended annual mammogram starting at age 40 essentially Congress is requiring health insurers to ignore modern scientific assessments and instead use a 15 year old guidance although many women’s health advocates applauded the congressional mandate it could be viewed as undermining women’s rights to make informed decisions based on the best scientific evidence the same thing happened 20 years ago when a National Cancer Institute consensus panel arrived at the same conclusion but the Senate voted unanimously to ignore them the number one killer of women is heart disease why not focus our billions on more effective interventions since you know health care dollars are limited maybe we could be doing more for women’s health but hey it could have been worse the original bill would have denied funding for any future USPSTF mammography recommendations period and some members of Congress even proposed to alter the task force composition to include stakeholders from the mammogram machine manufacturers so they can play more direct role in influencing policy [Music] you


  • Reply AlboPepper - Drought Proof Urban Gardening January 31, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    This series is extremely helpful. So much controversy. Thanks Dr Greger!

  • Reply Debbie Holt January 31, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    It just goes to show you that it’s not about preserving women’s health at all! It’s about the MONEY!!!

  • Reply Vicky Manson January 31, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Thank you so much Dr. Greger! Tomorrow I'm going back for a check up at the ob-gyn office where they made unethical remarks towards me when I refused to get a mammogram. I just turned 40 and this is the gift I get from the doctor? A nice dose of radiation and a possibility of a false positive? No thank you very much.

  • Reply Eelke Aptroot January 31, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    So is the treatment more deadly than the disease…

  • Reply Jen Doe January 31, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Thank you Dr. Greger and team! I wish that my OB/GYN Dr. would allow me to make the decision that I feel is best, rather then what he feels is best. I will now voice my opinion with them without feeling guilty. They have made me feel that if I don’t start early, I must not care about my health. Ha, that’s quite the contradiction isn’t it?!

  • Reply BetterYouBetterWorld V January 31, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    hm. fruit good. meat bad. microwave gnadab. mammogram.. bad? tell mum?

  • Reply Vegan For The Animals Ⓥ January 31, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Great video, Doc…and check out Pam Popper's videos on this subject

  • Reply Ana Patricia January 31, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    Thank you sooo much. 🥑🍇🍍🥒🍠🌰🥕🥝🍓

  • Reply Pickle Beaker! January 31, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    No way! Congress made a boo boo again?! Inconceivable!

  • Reply Vahid M January 31, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    Short answer: No.

  • Reply Sherri January 31, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    My recent 3-D diagnostic mammogram is costing me after insurance $500, and the biopsy is near $3000. And I don’t have cancer! All the fear and money involved is sickening.

  • Reply Laurie Paris January 31, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Discouraging to say the least. It's all about the money and drumming up fear to ensure a steady flow if it.

  • Reply Patrick Nottingham January 31, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    How depressing. Congress yet again getting involved because of lobbying instead of consulting the experts.

  • Reply Todd Sloan January 31, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    Is this the problem 2:40 with our world?

  • Reply houndjog January 31, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    NEVER! Women need to use "THERMOGRAMS" where they measure the heat of them!

  • Reply Vegan For The Animals Ⓥ January 31, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Dr G, maybe you can do some more in-depth videos on colonoscopies too (I know you had the one video)…seems to be the same issue with mammographies and colonoscopies….($$)

  • Reply Ladawn Warren January 31, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    Just turned 40 video is Very helpful so much controversy I wasn’t thrilled about having a mammogram at 40 anyway. I do believe treating food as medicine can protect us from breast cancer and many other diseases plant-based is the best lifestyle for us all. Thanks 😊

  • Reply Drea East Coast January 31, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    I personally have NO intention of getting mammograms any more than 5 years apart, if at all. I do self-exams, get exams by the doctor, and can use thermography. Granted, once you find something in a self-exam, it's been there for many years. I want the least exposure to radiation possible.

  • Reply Oreo Emesis January 31, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    Is it ok if I write that I love you, Dr. Greger? 💛

  • Reply T Eye January 31, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    I had a gynecological appointment a few days ago and my doctor was pushing me to get a mammogram. I’m exactly 40z I told her I wanted to do some of my own research and she didn’t love that idea.

  • Reply Silas R January 31, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    I understand that BSE doesn't catch tumors in earlier stages, but how is it harmful? (is Dr. Greger implying that the biopsies per se are harmful? or maybe the resulting treatment of harmless lumps?)

  • Reply tHE-ARTilect January 31, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Crazy. Why have a government, let's just have lobbyist and corporations run people into the ground. This is psycho

  • Reply A. S. Afterlife January 31, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Mammograms make them a lot of money, of course they would ignore the science, I'm not surprised.

  • Reply Randy Lantz January 31, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    So absurd. The government actually working AGAINST the best interests of its citizens.

  • Reply Rhyothemis princeps January 31, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Thanks for this video, Dr Greger and NutritionFacts. Would MRIs be better? I expect they would be, but for the cost.
    I wish more emphasis were on prevention, particularly avoidance of excess alcohol consumption – especially for young women: "Menarche to first pregnancy represents a window of time when breast tissue is particularly susceptible to carcinogens."

  • Reply Donna Roberts January 31, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    Great info. Interesting how rapidly the quality of care declines when the words NON-COMPLIANT are entered into one's chart. I have to decline mammograms and Lipitor, every time I go to the doctor. If I go for a sinus infection, I am told to go home and wait a week, but grilled about getting the mammogram.

  • Reply Deanna Demers January 31, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    I have never had a mammogram and refuse to have one now.

  • Reply Deanna Demers January 31, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    I depend on keeping myself healthy by eating vegan, organic and not exposing my body to excess radiation.

  • Reply tamcon72 January 31, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    5:45 Holy Crap. And I don't normally use barroom language at this channel. How to correct these mistakes when the medical establishment won't tailor guidelines to reflect those of the disinterested regulatory body, and not due to the usual–profit motive–but due to ignorance? In a weird way, this parallels the problem of getting clinicians to understand the science behind plant-based dietary protocols: Information isn't filtering down to the right recipients. TFP.

  • Reply Rj Aquaponics January 31, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    My wife's last mammogram was a few years ago.  They saw something on one breast, but they were unable to get a clean result so what did they do?  They did SIX more "shots" of that breast in an attempt to see the result they were looking for!  When my wife told me this, I was furious!  She felted pressure to allow them to continue performing the procedure over and over again even though it was hurting her.  Her breast was very sore for better than a month!   My wife is still on the fence about getting mammograms for fear of cancer.  Luckily she continues to say NO.

  • Reply Steven Froese January 31, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Mammograms are dangerous and not effective, very outdated. Use your hands instead or get thermography.

  • Reply Gugus Ⓥ January 31, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Hello guys, I've recently switched to a vegan diet 11 days ago (I'm 16 yo) and yesterday when I woke up my back hurt when I was breathing (middle right side), then few hours after I started getting a headache and went back home. I slept 12 hours yesterday and today when I woke up my back pain was gone but I was super tired and I was sweaty, now I'm still getting this headache… and my eyes are irritated. I eat between 2000-2500 calories everyday mostly whole foods (lentils, brocoli, blueberries, bananas, flaxseeds, soy and almond milk, walnuts, almonds, pasta, spinach, oats…). I bought B12 and Vitamin D and Omega 3 supplements and they should come in a few days. My parents think it's because of this "stupid diet" lul. Is it because I already got some deficiency, because of the switch in the diet or something else ?

  • Reply jenlovesthisstuff January 31, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    I'm taking pink back!!

  • Reply sooooooooDark January 31, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    if u read/watch random info on the internet all day long every day – u get a feel for what is true(er) and false(r)

    this vid is full of misinfo
    even if its evidence based misinfo – it doesnt make it better

    how would some random internet dude know? rewatch the vid and see for urself

  • Reply patty 8873 January 31, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    They tell you 80 percent of the time, biopsies are negative to make us less worried. But then I thought about it. 80 percent of the time the results of a mammogram are wrong?? That’s crazy! What other test is that inaccurate?

  • Reply lightdark00 January 31, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Rub those breasts, don't squash them in a machine 😊

  • Reply L.A. Jameson January 31, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    This is the Doctor Greger I love! – Fighting the good fight against big Pharma and the Industry of healthcare. Keep doing it!

  • Reply Maureen K January 31, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    You are the best!

  • Reply Diana January 31, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Let me see if I have this right: The harm that mammograms do is when someone is diagnosed with cancer when she actually doesn't have cancer, right?

  • Reply Sheena Goodchild January 31, 2018 at 9:16 pm

    I am thankful to be in Australia. Have very dense breast tissue with cysts and currently have breast cancer. Without yearly mammogram and ultrasound wouldn't have been picked up. Cost of those yearly tests to me is about $150.

  • Reply A3 Skywarrior February 1, 2018 at 12:40 am

    Stop all cancers by getting your kidneys to filter your lymphatic systems cellular waste. It took me 4 months of dry fasting, herbs and fruit only diet but after 47 years my kidneys are filtering for the first time that I can remember. Absolutely amazing, follow Dr Robert Morse Videos on YT.

  • Reply Maple Flavor February 1, 2018 at 3:12 am

    the opportunity cost of tolerating the state is unfathomable. healthcare should be subjected to a market feedback system

  • Reply Tina Turner February 1, 2018 at 11:53 am

    I am a woman with fibrous lumps. I have had CT scan, three biopsies, and a lump removed. All to find out no, yet again, I do NOT have cancer. I now refuse mammograms. When my doctor got pushy about them, I changed doctors to one who understands my plight. When I adopted a plant based diet I made the decision that if I found out I had cancer, I wouldn't do anything differently. I would just use food to heal me! So why should I put myself through all that?

  • Reply Julie Cooper February 1, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    This indirectly explains something else I've noticed, as well. I remember reading an article, over ten years ago, about a new procedure for detecting breast cancer. It was supposed to be far less invasive, and more accurate. It involved testing saliva samples. All any female patient would've needed to do was to spit into a cup. No disrobing required. This method would've been preferable, by far. I guess that probably got nixed, for the sake of mammography machine companies too. Figures! I was wondering whatever happened to that idea. 😠😠

  • Reply xFuzzyLove February 1, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    They tried mess with my mom about that. They chose to ignore the fact that they didn’t see any cancer in the mammograms, yet wanted to remove her breast anyway. The only reason she went was because she used to have a big ball in her breast for many years then it just disappeared, after diet Changes.

  • Reply DIY Solar Homestead February 1, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    I just found your channel, good stuff.

  • Reply houndjog February 2, 2018 at 12:52 am

    Check out the video's on YT where women have used "Black Salve" topically to kill the breast cancer!

  • Reply Vegan Nurse Practitioner February 2, 2018 at 3:21 am

    So at what age can we quit taking mammograms?

  • Reply Dylan Watson February 2, 2018 at 9:18 am

    Hey Doc and comment section, I've been wanting to go wholefoods vegan for a while now, and my mum recently had a mini-stroke, she found out she has high cholesterol, BP as well as some other issues.

    I told her about plant-based eating and some of the science behind it, with cholesterol, BP, Weight loss, etc.

    Anyway long story short, we're planning to make our first "cooking steps" in plant-based eating (I already cut out all dairy and meat for breakfast & lunch).

    But I don't really know how to cook many vegan meals and I wanted to know if you have any cookbook recommendations apart from your How Not To Die Books. which I've already ordered 🙂

    I'm Grateful for any advice and suggestions 🙂

  • Reply Laura M February 2, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Just had this talk with my gyn- she spit out every industry rebuttal for having a mammogram: “it’s less radiation than a transatlantic flight” thermography won’t catch anything “. Blah blah blah

  • Reply Conner McDaniel February 3, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    Have to be careful here. USPSTF recommendations were pushing back starting age to 50 and alternating years (not eliminating mammograms altogether). Several RCTs have shown decreased mortality in the era of tamoxifen and adjuvant chemo. Diagnostic or digital mammography and increased image quality versus screening film mammography is not considered. It's easy to criticize the bias of some who want more screening because they are blindly pro-women's health without considering the naturalist bias or supposed money-driven conspiracy theories.

  • Reply jholmie February 4, 2018 at 1:05 am

    frightening as fuuuuuuuuudge. thanks for making this series dr. greger!

  • Reply Marta Alegria Rocha February 5, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    My Doctors warning me that I have do a mamogram annually, because I have a high potential
    probability to have in the future… I would prefer not to do it…

  • Reply Tracey M July 16, 2018 at 12:39 am


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