Study finds annual mammograms don't reduce breast cancer deaths
More research supports the belief that annual mammograms in middle-aged women aren't really necessary. A new study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that yearly screenings didn't reduce breast cancer deaths.
The research, which looked at nearly 90,000 women ages 40 to 59, actually found the same number of women died of breast cancer over 25 years, regardless of whether they underwent mammograms or not.
Mammograms are performed routinely to screen women for breast cancer in order to get an early diagnosis. But, in some cases, early detection does not mean the cancer can be cured, and in other cases, later stage cancers can be successfully treated.
Also, the study found that 22 percent of breast cancers detected by mammograms were overdiagnosed, meaning they revealed tumors that did not cause disease symptoms and would not reduce a woman’s lifespan if they were not detected.
Researchers are calling for screenings to be reassessed by policymakers, and that mammograms may be better put to use when a patient finds a lump or distortion in the breast that needs to be checked.