Why is it better to have breast cancer detected by a mammogram than by a physical exam? Because finding a tumor by a mammogram reduces the chance you’ll need more toxic or aggressive treatments such as chemotherapy and mastectomy. A study by the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center of nearly 1,000 women with invasive breast cancer suggests that women whose cancer was found by physical exam were three times more likely to have chemotherapy and twice as likely to have a mastectomy than women whose cancer was detected by a mammogram. What’s more, the tumors detected by mammogram were half the size of those found by exams and less likely to have spread to lymph nodes. The bottom line: If you’re due for a mammogram, make your appointment today.