The new information over the past week about screening mammography and the change in guidelines may seem confusing and unsettling to many of us. Whether you have never had breast cancer, are dealing with it now or are a breast cancer survivor, these debates and discussions can certainly increase anxiety and frustration. Frankly, we all just want to be informed and empowered with the best information to deal with and prevent this disease. If you are worried about this new information, you may want to consider the following action steps:
1. Talk to your doctor about your history, your risks and how he or she is interpreting the new guidelines. Discuss a plan of action that feels right for you. Remember the old saying, “knowledge is power.”
2. Write down in advance 3-5 questions that you want to ask your doctor before you see him or her. This will help you feel calm and in control and get the answers you want and deserve. Take a study or news article you have read to your appointment if that helps clarify things or gives you a basis for the conversation.
3. Talk to family and friends about the situation – see how others are feeling and use this as a chance to share your own thoughts and concerns.
You and your doctor should work together to decide what is best for you. And remember to keep in touch with your insurance company to track any changes in coverage. You don’t want unexpected medical bills to take you by surprise.
Undoubtedly there will be more discussion and debate on this issue in the coming weeks and months, but you can take control of your own situation and be an educated and empowered consumer!