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Study Casts Doubts About Mammogram Value


Women trying to stop breast cancer before it is too late often rely on mammograms.

Dianna Petrick is the Director of Mission Services with the Breast Cancer Resource Centers of Texas said mammograms are a valuable part in treating and preventing breast cancer.

"One of the most important benefits of a mammogram is detecting breast cancer, and it has been used for a long time with significant results," Petrick said.

But a new, controversial Canadian study is suggesting different. Researchers followed nearly 90,000 women for 25 years. The study found for woman ages 40-59, annual mammograms do not save lives, and results showed no difference in survival rates with or without screenings.

Some argued the study is flawed, and in response doctors said no study is perfect.

The study also finds that 22 percent of cancers detected by mammograms were overdiagnosed, and said cancers were too small to need treatment and lead to unnecessary procedures.

The Susan G. Koman Cancer Society in Austin agrees. In a statement the president wrote:

"It is based on 1950s technology, and can lead in some cases to overdiagnosis and overtreatment of breast cancers."

Experts said each woman is different and usually needs different treatment. Health and family history are conversations each woman needs to have with their own doctor to come up with individual plans.

"Everyone's circumstances are different and everyone's breast tissue may be a little different," Petrick said.

The American Cancer Society estimates more than 230,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed this year in women.

By Cassie Gallo

Study Casts Doubts About Mammogram Value

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