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IMC Doctor: Utah Ranks Lowest in Mammogram Rates but High in Treatment Success

Treatment following a diagnosis for breast cancer in Utah has some of the best success rates in the nation according to Dr. Brett Parkinson. He’s the imaging director for breast care services at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray.“However our screening rate is abysmally low in the state of Utah. We either are last, second-to-last or third-to-last when we look at the percentage of women who have had a mammogram in the last two years; who are eligible to have that mammogram,” Parkinson says.

The Journal of the American Medical Association this week published American Cancer Society’s changes in ages for women to start getting regular screenings for breast cancer. It was 40 years old; now it’s 45. Dr. Richard C. Wender of the ACS says in a statement the changes reflect a better balance of harm to benefit. Dr. Parkinson of IMC says a misdiagnosis usually only happens with two percent of the patients. He says claims of over-diagnosing are a myth.

“We do not over-diagnose cancers as radiologists because when we say something is suspicious and it undergoes a biopsy,” says Parkinson, “it’s the pathologist who makes the diagnosis and the pathologists don’t over-diagnose.”

Parkinson says early detection is still paramount because not only are lives saved but the time and suffering through a cure is less for someone who has been diagnosed. He also calls for more federal funding for research to find a cure for breast cancer.

Link to IMC Blog Post: Clearing Up the Confusion: When Should a Woman Begin Annual Mammograms?

Bob Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in mass communications. He began his radio career at KUER in 1978 when it was still in Kingsbury Hall. That’s also where he met his wife, Maria Shilaos, in 1981. Bob left KUER for commercial radio where he worked for 25 years, and he is thrilled to be back at KUER. Bob and his family are part of an explorer group, fondly known as The Hordes and Masses, which has been seeking out ghost towns and little-known places in Utah for more than twenty years.
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