Yes, Mammograms Are Worth it
A new study finds proves they save lives.
Experts in the U.S. have recently cast doubt about the usefulness of mammograms, saying that the breast-cancer-screening test doesn’t save an appreciable number of lives and causes unnecessary anxiety for women who undergo painful biopsies only to find that their lumps are benign.
But now a British study of 80,000 women, conducted by experts from the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, finds that a significant number of lives are saved through mammography.
For every 28.5 women screened over a 20-year period in England, 2.5 lives were saved by mammograms, the study found, and only one case was over-diagnosed.
The study’s conclusion: “The benefits in terms of numbers of deaths prevented are around double the harm in terms of over-diagnosis. Analysis shows a substantial and significant reduction in breast cancer deaths in association with mammographic screening.”
The study will buttress the arguments of women and many physicians who disagreed with the findings last year of a federal panel, the United States Preventive Services Task Force, that mammograms were an ineffective and expensive diagnostic tool. (The BBC)