Large Study Shows Mammograms Not Effective in Reducing Breast Cancer Deaths, May Actually Increase Risk Due to Radiation Exposure
TUESDAY, Feb. 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) — The value of yearly mammograms is under fire once again, with a long-running Canadian study contending that annual screening in women aged 40 to 59 does not lower breast cancer death rates.
For 25 years, the researchers followed nearly 90,000 women who were randomly assigned either to get screening mammograms or not.
“Mammography detected many more invasive breast cancers,” said lead researcher Dr. Cornelia Baines, professor emeriti at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. “Survival time was longer in women getting mammography.”
“[However], the number of deaths from breast cancer was the same in both groups at 25 years,” she said.
“It is increasingly being recognized that there are significant harms from screening, and that screening can do much less now than 40 years ago because of improved therapy,” Baines added. “Twenty-two percent of the mammography group with screen-detected invasive beast cancer were over-diagnosed and unnecessarily inflicted with therapy.”