Acording to Dr John Keen, a Chicago radiologist, the people who promote mammogram screening are pushing the wrong statistics.
This is after Dr Keen and his brother, Dr James Keen, of the University of Nebraska, set out to analyse the claim that mammography saves lives.
To workout the benefits, the doctors compared several sets of metrics, including survival percentages - with and without screening, relative risk reduction based on randomised mammography trials, and a 15 year cumulative breast cancer
The results showed the average woman has a 6% risk of developing breast cancer
between the ages of 55 and 70. But if you take 1,000 women at age 50 and give each one an annual mammogram for 15 years, only about two lives will be saved.
The risks associated with mammograms...
One of the problems with recommending such widespread screening is the high risk of false positive results which prompt unnecessary follow up mammograms, ultrasound tests and biopsies.
This is stressful for the patients - not to mention the costs. But, even more importantly... Annual mammograms expose women to cumulative doses of radiation that could prompt cancer
growth. And the compression associated with mammograms can cause tumours to spread.
In another study, researchers looked at more than 30 years of breast cancer
and mammogram data. They came to two clear conclusions…
Annual mammograms don't lower the overall rate of advanced cancers.
US doctors misdiagnosed more than a million women during the study period.
This means that hundreds of thousands of women underwent unnecessary biopsies, surgeries, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
The better option...
Last year, the FDA approved the Automated Breast Ultrasound System (ABUS). With this screening method, there’s no breast compression or radiation exposure.
And, with a technique called elastography, ultrasound technicians can accurately detect malignant tumours.
It dramatically reduces false positives and overdiagnosis.
The future of breast cancer
screening has already arrived in South Africa, ask your doctor for a referral to a centre that offers breast ultrasounds.
Conquer Cancer with Mustard?
You knew vegetables could help prevent cancer, but eliminate it?
An all natural cancer-fighter found in mustard has been shown that it could actually wipe out nearly half of early cervical cancers and may prove key to combating breast, uterine and ovarian cancers.
It's so harmless you could (and probably should) take it every day just to be on the safe side. Read more here...