New Study Challenges Mammogram Benefits

A recent study from Denmark questions the widely-held belief that regular mammograms can help prevent deaths from breast cancer by finding tumors when they are very small and more treatable. According to researchers, as many as one-third of all abnormalities detected by mammograms may never cause any health problems.

Previous studies have also shown that breast cancer screening can lead to unnecessary treatment. The problem is that doctors are unable to determine which tumors require treatment and which should be monitored for progression.

Breast cancer screening is somewhat controversial—the American Cancer Society says mammograms should be an option beginning at the age of 40 and annual mammograms should start at age 45 until 55, and then every two years, while the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends mammograms every two years beginning at the age of 50. However, women should follow guidelines and their health care providers' recommendations for breast cancer screening and treatment.

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Sourced from: NPR