Gillian Goddard

3 min Read Gillian Goddard

Gillian Goddard

Are Mammograms Enough to Detect Breast Cancer?

Q&A on screening

Gillian Goddard

3 min Read

Why does my doctor send me for a mammogram and a sonogram to screen for breast cancer? I am 43 and just had my fourth mammogram. Every time my gynecologist sends me for a mammogram, she sends me for a sonogram too. I am curious why she does this and if there is data to say that the extra testing is better?

—Squished x2

Over the years there has been controversy around when to start screening for breast cancer. The goal of screening is to find disease before it is symptomatic, when it can be treated more effectively. To do this, we want to use a test that is both sensitive and specific: that is, the test does a good job of finding the disease you are looking for and doesn’t find too much stuff that looks like the disease but isn’t. 

The controversy around when to start breast cancer screening stems from the fact that younger women are more likely to have dense breast tissue. Dense breast tissue decreases the sensitivity — the likelihood of finding breast cancer when it is present — of mammography. Mammography misses up to 20% of breast cancers, and the more dense your breast tissue, the less sensitive mammography becomes.

When screening women with dense breast tissue for breast cancer with both a mammogram and a sonogram, you increase the sensitivity of screening but decrease the specificity. You find more stuff, including more breast cancer, but it is less likely that any individual finding is breast cancer. 

There are several studies that look at mammography alone compared with mammography and breast sonogram in women with dense breasts. A 2023 Cochrane review found that adding breast sonography identifies two additional cases of breast cancer per 1,000 women screened — 0.45% of women screened were diagnosed with breast cancer in the mammogram plus sonogram group, compared with 0.3% in the mammogram-only group. However, a 2020 review found that in women with a normal mammogram, 90% of the findings on breast sonograms were false positives. 

Ultimately, if you have dense breasts, which many women in their 40s do, having a breast sonogram in addition to your screening mammogram does increase the likelihood of finding breast cancer if you have it. But it also increases the likelihood of finding something that is not cancer and can lead to additional testing and mental distress. It is worthwhile to discuss both screening protocols with your doctor and decide whether a mammogram and sonogram or mammogram only is best for you.

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Milestones. We celebrate them in pregnancy, in parenting, and they’re a fun thing to celebrate at work too. Just a couple years ago I couldn’t have foreseen what this community would grow into. Today, there are over 400,000 of you here—asking questions, making others feel seen wherever they may be in their journey, and sharing information that supports data > panic. 

It has been a busy summer for the team at ParentData. I’d love to take a moment here to celebrate the 400k milestone. As I’ve said before, it’s more important than ever to put good data in the hands of parents. 

Share this post with a friend who could use a little more data, and a little less parenting overwhelm. 

📷 Me and my oldest, collaborating on “Expecting Better”

Milestones. We celebrate them in pregnancy, in parenting, and they’re a fun thing to celebrate at work too. Just a couple years ago I couldn’t have foreseen what this community would grow into. Today, there are over 400,000 of you here—asking questions, making others feel seen wherever they may be in their journey, and sharing information that supports data > panic.

It has been a busy summer for the team at ParentData. I’d love to take a moment here to celebrate the 400k milestone. As I’ve said before, it’s more important than ever to put good data in the hands of parents.

Share this post with a friend who could use a little more data, and a little less parenting overwhelm.

📷 Me and my oldest, collaborating on “Expecting Better”
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Comment “link” for an article with other tools to help you navigate risk and uncertainty.

#emilyoster #parentdata #riskmanagement #parentstruggles #parentingstruggles
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Do any of these findings surprise you? Let us know in the comments!

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Dr. Gillian Goddard sums up what she learned from the Hot Flash S e x Survey! Here are some key data takeaways:

🌶️ Among respondents, the most common s e x u a l frequency was 1 to 2 times per month, followed closely by 1 to 2 times per week
🌶️ 37% have found their sweet spot and are happy with the frequency of s e x they are having
🌶️ About 64% of respondents were very or somewhat satisfied with the quality of the s e x they are having

Do any of these findings surprise you? Let us know in the comments!

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Tag a Dad who this holiday may be tricky for. We’re sending you love. 💛
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#parentdata #emilyoster #childsleep #babysleep #parentingcommunity

SLEEP DATA 💤 We asked you all about your kids’ sleep—and got nearly 15,000 survey responses to better understand kids’ sleep patterns. Comment “Link” for an article that breaks down our findings!

This graph shows sleeping location by age. You’ll notice that for the first three months, most kids are in their own sleeping location in a parent’s room. Then, over the first year, this switches toward their own room. As kids age, sharing a room with a sibling becomes more common.

Head to the newsletter for more and stay tuned for part two next week on naps! 🌙

#parentdata #emilyoster #childsleep #babysleep #parentingcommunity
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Weekends are good for extra cups of ☕️ and listening to podcasts. I asked our team how they pod—most people said on walks or during chores. What about you?

Comment “Link” to subscribe to ParentData with Emily Oster, joined by some excellent guests.

#parentdata #parentdatapodcast #parentingpodcast #parentingtips #emilyoster

Weekends are good for extra cups of ☕️ and listening to podcasts. I asked our team how they pod—most people said on walks or during chores. What about you?

Comment “Link” to subscribe to ParentData with Emily Oster, joined by some excellent guests.

#parentdata #parentdatapodcast #parentingpodcast #parentingtips #emilyoster
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#emilyoster #secondbaby #parentingjokes #parentinghumor

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Some parents worry about DEET, but repellants with up to 30% DEET are recommended by both the CDC and AAP. The data says you’re in the clear, so go for it. Enjoy your summer!

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Prevention is key! I suggest:
⭐ Regular tick checks
⭐ Using bug sprays with DEET
⭐ Wearing long sleeves and pants in the woods

Some parents worry about DEET, but repellants with up to 30% DEET are recommended by both the CDC and AAP. The data says you’re in the clear, so go for it. Enjoy your summer!

#parentdata #emilyoster #tickseason #bugbites #bugspray
...