Health Watch -- Memo to Mom

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


Mother's Day was the day to honor Mom. Now turn the tables and offer her some advice.

Your mother has probably given you plenty of advice over the years. Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say it's your turn to offer some advice to your mom that could help save her life.

If your mother is older than 40, encourage her to have annual mammograms. Dr. Marilyn Leitch, a UT Southwestern breast cancer expert, says the early diagnosis made possible by mammography not only increases survival chances but also makes it more likely that the breast can be saved and chemotherapy can be avoided.

Older women are at greater risk for breast cancer. More than 60 percent of breast cancer deaths occur in women over age 65. Medicare covers routine mammography, but many older women still don't schedule this important screening exam.

Another concern to warn your mom about is osteoporosis, or weakening bones. This condition affects about 10 million Americans, mostly women. Three times that number have low bone mass, a risk factor for osteoporosis. Women tend to lose excessive bone mass in the first seven to 10 years after menopause. Dr. Khashayar Sakhaee, a mineral metabolism expert at UT Southwestern, recommends a bone density screening at menopause and then annual measurements to track the amount of bone loss.

Show your love for mom by encouraging her to get these regular screenings to help protect her health.


May 2004