A study published in February of 90-thousand women over 25-years questions the value of mammography in detecting breast cancer. Among the findings:

  • Death rates from breast cancer and from all causes were the same in women who had mammograms and those who did not.
  • There was no advantage to finding breast cancers when they were too small to feel.
  • Too much screening for mammography. One out of five cancers found with mammography and treated was not a threat to the woman’s health and did not need treatment such as chemotherapy, surgery or radiation.

In this week’s Vital Signs, Dr. Lakshmi Kannan, an oncologist with Methodist Charlton Medical Center, says she believes the study has serious flaws. She also took issue with the finding of advanced treatments making early detection less important:

The KERA Interview

For more information: 

British Medical Journal study

American College of Radiology response to BMJ Study

Fact Sheet About Mammography

Breast Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments