A Norwegian study found that breast cancer screening, commonly known as mammogram screening, may reduce the risk of death from breast cancer by only 10 percent. Mette Kalager, M.D. and colleagues followed 40,075 women, screened and unscreened from 1996 through 2005. The findings were reported on Sept 23, 2010 in the New England Journal of Medicine. This is not the only study suggesting that the life-saving effect of this screening method is quite limited.
Jørgensen KJ and colleagues from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark conducted a study suggesting that the benefit may be zero. The researchers found women ages 44 to 74 who had received mammogram screening had their risk of death from the disease reduced by 1 percent, compared to 2 percent reduction in the women who were unscreened. Similarly, no benefit was found in women aged 35 to 55 and those aged 75 to 84. The findings were reported in the March 23, 2010 issue of British Medical Journal.
According to a University of Florida study, breast
biopsies should not be the only option to further
diagnose abnormalities found in mammograms.
Cellular effects of radiation are basically the same for the different kinds and doses of radiation. The simplest and most direct effect of radiation is cell death. Changes in cellular function can occur at much lower radiation doses than those that cause cell death. Changes can include delays in phases of the mitotic cycle, disrupted cell growth, permeability changes, and changes in motility.
Massive campaigns exist to encourage women to have annual mammograms. However, routine screening has not been proven to reduce the death toll from cancer. Americans spend an estimated $4 billion annually on mammograms, according to Dr. David H. Newman, author of the book “Hippocrates’ Shadow: Secrets from the House of Medicine.” Some of those tests cause false alarms that lead to unnecessary follow-up surgery on normal breasts, at a cost of $14 billion to $70 billion over a decade, according to Newman, the director of clinical research in the department of emergency medicine at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center in Manhattan.
There are five things that can happen as a
result of screening tests, and four of them are bad.
Dr. Ned Calonge
Chairman US Preventive Services
More breast tissue is exposed to dangerous cancer causing radiation each year. This yearly ritual generates false positive and false negative results leading to many worthless operations and considerable anxiety in women incorrectly diagnosed. Biopsies are often done to evaluate breast masses. Needle biopsies are considered less invasive and safer than common breast biopsies of suspected tumors but even this procedure can spread small foci of tumor along the needle track potentially increasing the spread of tumor cells.
Routine mammograms which have been shown to
reduce deaths from breast cancer in older women, have
not proved to reduce the toll in women in their 20s and 30s
Dr. Susan M. Love
Breast cancer surgeon
Many women will be over-diagnosed by both two and three dimensional mammograms leading to overtreatment. One of the most basic reasons why mammograms do not demonstrate affectively higher survival rates is that the test is negatively reinforcing in that women are exposed to cancer provoking treatments and even more cancer provoking tests that lead to higher incidence of death, not from the cancer itself but from the treatments and dangerous tests.
Taking a daily 10 to 15 minute walk in the sun
not only clears your head, relieves stress and increases
circulation – it could also cut your risk of breast cancer in half.
Dr. Esther John