Study: For Every Life Saved By Mammogram, Four Are Over-Diagnosed And Over-Treated
“Mammography can help a few — a very few — women, but it comes at a real human cost, including people undergoing treatment unnecessarily,” says Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, one of the authors of the study.
Los Angeles Times:
Majority Of Women Diagnosed With Breast Cancer After Screening Mammograms Get Unnecessary Treatment, Study Finds
More than half of breast cancers newly diagnosed in the United States are likely cases of mistaken identity that subject women to needless anxiety, treatment and expense, researchers reported Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study also found that the value of mammograms as a life-saving tool has been significantly overstated. Instead, the introduction of more effective treatments should get most of the credit for improving survival rates among women diagnosed with breast cancer, the researchers concluded. (Healy, 10/12)
Mammograms More Likely To Cause Unneeded Treatment Than To Save Lives
A new study offers a reality check to anyone who says a mammogram saved her life. For every woman in whom mammography detected a breast cancer that was destined to become large and potentially life-threatening — the kind that screening is intended to head off — about four are diagnosed with one that would never have threatened their health. But the surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation that follows such diagnoses can be traumatic, disfiguring, toxic, or even life-shortening even as it’s unnecessary. Prior estimates of how many mammogram-detected cancers are overdiagnoses, meaning they don’t need to be treated, have ranged from 0 to 54 percent. (Begley, 10/12)