Decades of mammography screening have not reduced breast cancer death rates and the technique should be abandoned for most women, a new study concludes.
The findings, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, indicate 52 percent of women are being “over treated” for cancer because of mammograms, which leads to aggressive treatment such as lumpectomy, mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation.
Experts say that such therapies carry their own physical and psychological risks, including potential harm from radiation.
“I believe that if mammogram screening had been a drug, it would have been withdrawn from the market long ago,” said study author Peter C. Gotzsche, of the Nordic Cochrane Center.
Other research confirms that in the past 30 years of breast cancer screening, more 1.3 million women have been diagnosed and over treated for tumors that would have never led to clinical symptoms and should never have been termed cancers in the first place. The diagnosis for so-called “early stage” or “stage zero” cancers often leads to unnecessary, aggressive treatment.
Last year, a landmark Canadian study also questioned the benefits of regular mammograms and prompted many women under the age of 60 to question their physicians whether getting breast X-rays annually would reduce their risk of dying from breast cancer.
Erika Schwartz, M.D., a leading advocate of disease prevention and wellness for women, tells Newsmax Health that the 2014 University of Toronto study revealed that the federally recommended annual screening of women aged 40 to 59 years did not lower breast cancer deaths. What’s more, radiation used in mammograms may actually cause cancer.
“They may some lives, but they don’t save everybody’s life,” says Dr. Schwartz, who personally eschews mammograms, preferring protective measures such as self-breast exams, doctor checkups, genetic testing, ultrasounds, MRIs, and adopting healthy lifestyle habits.
Gotzsche said the benefits of mammograms have been oversold.
“Mammography screening has been promoted to the public with three simple promises that all appear to be wrong: It saves lives and breasts by catching the cancers early. Screening does not seem to make women live longer,” he said.
Gabe Mirkin, M.D, an Orlando-based expert, agreed.
“Every word in the study is golden and women should know this,” he said. “Mammography causes many women to get treatment they do not need. More than 25 percent of breast surgery is done for questionable reasons. And the radiation from mammograms increases your risk of cancer and heart attack.“
Dr. Schwartz said fear of cancer drives many women to seek mammography screening.
“Also when women hear the word ‘cancer’ and especially ‘breast cancer,’ they don’t hear anything else,” she said. “We have been so brainwashed and fear-stricken by the establishment we go for our annual mammograms robotically thinking that they will save our lives. However, as we have seen, we actually have no scientific evidence to support that approach.”
She added that for high-risk women, those who have genetically inherited an increased risk of getting breast cancer, mammograms make sense.
“But I want women to empower themselves, to enjoy their lives and not have tests done out of fear,” she said. “Exercise daily, eat a healthy diet, get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep and learn to manage your stress. These steps have been clinically shown to help reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.”
© 2023 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.