Tags: mammograms | overdiagnosis | cancer | study

Mammograms: Overdiagnosis a Concern, Danish Study Says

Image: Mammograms: Overdiagnosis a Concern, Danish Study Says

File photo dated June 6, 2015 of a consultant studying a mammogram. (Rui Vieira/Press Association via AP Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 10 Jan 2017 03:52 PM

Mammograms may be leading to overdiagnosis and unnecessary cancer treatment, with up to a third of women’s tumors being so small or slow-growing that they may never have become fatal, according to a Danish study.

The study, published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, has added fuel to the ongoing argument about the value of early detection and whether women should get mammograms when no lumps or other symptoms have been detected, according to USA Today.

In the study, which looked at over a million women aged 35 to 84 from 1980 to 2010, nearly one in three tumors found through mammograms would not have led to any serious health problems. Furthermore, the screening process didn’t lower the incidence of advanced tumors, Fox News reported.

Other studies have produced different results, with a different Danish study finding only a 2.3 percent overdiagnosis rate, USA Today noted.

“The amount of overdiagnosis really is small,” American College of Radiology Commission on Breast Imaging chair Dr. Debra Monticciolo said, USA Today reported. “Articles like this aren’t very helpful,” since they confuse women and make it seem like mammograms aren’t important for breast cancer screening.

Treatments for breast cancer like radiation and chemotherapy do have risks, however. Radiation can even cause additional tumors, and having surgery that isn’t necessary also carries risks, USA Today reported. Because the study started in 1980, further research on the impact of today’s mammograms is probably needed.

Current U.S. guidelines say that mammograms are optional for women ages 40 to 44, then should be done annually until age 54 and every two years starting at age 55, USA Today reported.

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Mammograms may be leading to overdiagnosis and unnecessary cancer treatment, with up to a third of women's tumors being so small or slow-growing that they may never have become fatal, according to a Danish study.
mammograms, overdiagnosis, cancer, study
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2017-52-10
Tuesday, 10 Jan 2017 03:52 PM
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