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February 2015

Why I’m Opting out of Mammography

Author Affiliations
  • 1Independent journalist

Copyright 2015 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(2):164-165. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.6394

At a routine appointment a few days after my 40th birthday, my gynecologist gave me a prescription for a mammogram. There was no discussion, no explanation. Just a slip of paper, handed to me without a word as I left the examination room. When I asked the doctor what she’d just given me, she told me it was an order for a mammogram. I could call the number to schedule an appointment.

“Wait—why should I get a mammogram?” I asked.

“Because it could save your life.” Her voice conveyed a note of impatience.