July 30, 2016

A HIGH PRICE FOR HYGIENE:

Study: Mammograms haven't cut cancer rate (ALBANY dAILY sTAR, 7/30/16)

A new report raises fresh questions about the value of mammograms. The rate of cancers that have already spread far beyond the breast when they are discovered has stayed stable for decades, suggesting that screening and early detection are not preventing the most dangerous forms of the disease.

The report, in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine, is by three prominent cancer specialists and is based on federal statistics going back to the 1970s.

It comes a week after the American Cancer Society scaled back its mammography advice, saying most women should start annual screening at age 45, not 40, and switch to every other year at 55. A government task force recommends even less -- every other year starting at 50.

"We're undergoing what I think for the public is a very confusing debate" about screening, but it's really "a course correction" prompted by more awareness of its risks and benefits to various groups of women, said Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a health policy expert at Dartmouth Medical School. "All they heard for years was, 'there are only benefits.' "

Posted by at July 30, 2016 7:43 AM

  

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