More Doubts About Mammograms

mammograms

The routine use of mammograms had led to more than one million women receiving unnecessary treatment for breast cancer over the last three decades, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (2012; 367:1998-2005). The authors concluded that nearly one-third of the women who received a diagnosis of breast cancer would never have developed the full-blown disease if left untreated. Nevertheless, in such cases patients typically undergo dan­gerous and invasive procedures such as surgery, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, and chemotherapy. H. Gilbert Welch, author of the study, speculated that as mammography technology has become more advanced, doctors are discover­ing breast lesions in such an early stage of development, it is virtually impossible to distinguish them from benign cell clusters. Even worse than the false positives is the fact that the mammograms “fail to catch forms of breast cancer that develop rapidly, why the more widespread use of screenings has done so little to curb the rate at which late-stage breast cancer is found.” According to Welch, “The sad fact is that there’s a subset of women who develop such an aggressive form of cancer it literally can’t be caught early.” No one is voicing the thought that the mammograms themselves causing these virulent tumors.