Your health and long life can depend on early detection. Can mammograms detect more than breast cancer? Women are always asking me about calcifications and how they relate to their health. Here are some interesting statistics that may give us insight through mammograms into our future health.
“A routine mammogram checking for breast cancer may predict the future development of heart disease, according to a study in Obstetrics & Gynecology. Fine, granular deposits along the circumference of breast arteries, called breast arterial calcifications, are visible on 3% to 29% of breast scans and are frequently seen in women with heart disease. The study looked at 1,454 U.S. women who received mammograms in 2004. After five years, 20.8% of the subjects who tested positive for calcifications had developed heart disease compared with 5.4% who tested negative. The risk of heart disease in women with breast calcification was 6.3% compared with 2.3% in those without calcification. Of the women with calcification, 58.3% developed stroke compared with 13.5% who were calcification-free. Adjusting for age and other risk factors didn’t affect the findings. Researchers recommended calcifications be routinely reported on breast scans. Using mammography to screen for heart disease could lead to earlier detection and intervention, they said.
Caveat: As the subjects were primarily white and non-Hispanic, the findings may not apply to women of other races or ethnicities. The severity of calcification wasn’t measured in the study.”
Remember, Early Detection is Your Best Protection!