Harvard Study Questions the Value of Routine Mammography Screening

A new study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health finds that routine mammography screenings for breast cancer lead to significant overdiagnosis of the disease. The study found that 15 to 25 percent of all breast cancer cases involve the finding of tumors that are harmless and require no treatment.

Mette Kalager, a visiting scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health and a researcher at Telemark Hospital in Norway who is the lead author of the study, states, “Mammography might not be appropriate for use in breast cancer screening because it cannot distinguish between progressive and nonprogressive cancer. Radiologists have been trained to find even the smallest of tumors in a bid to detect as many cancers as possible to be able to cure breast cancer. However, the present study adds to the increasing body of evidence that this practice has caused a problem for women — diagnosis of breast cancer that wouldn’t cause symptoms or death.”

The study is published in the April 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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