Posted on: February 18, 2014
To Get a Mammogram or Not To Get a Mammogram: Risk Status Should Play a Role
By Philip C. Bonanno, MD, FACS, Director of The Breast Program and Director of Integrated Cancer Care in the Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center at Northern Westchester Hospital
This news was hard to miss: A new study suggested that women who get annual mammograms are as likely to die from breast cancer as women who only get breast examinations from qualified doctors and nurses. If you find that news confusing, you’re not alone. Doctors, public health officials, and cancer specialists are all trying to figure out what the findings mean when it comes to detecting breast cancer and protecting women.
The study, published in the respected British Medical Journal, tracked more than 90,000 women for 25 years. The results found that death rates from breast cancer were identical in women who got mammograms and those who did not. Worse, in one in five cases, getting a mammogram often led to biopsies, radiation, and chemotherapy to treat cancers that actually posed no threat to the patient.