• Glenn Wilson

    For every life saved by mammography, as many as 2 to 10 women are overdiagnosed, meaning turned into breast cancer patients unnecessarily, along with all the attendant harms of chemo, radiation, or surgery without the benefits.

    Dr. Greger: What was the impact of the 2009 shift in recommendation to delay routine screening until age 50? Ironically, mammography rates of women in their 40s may have actually gone up. The thought is that all the media attention may have just reminded women about it, underscoring the need to better translate “evidence…into practice.”

    The new recommendations bring the U.S. closer to European standards: mammograms every few years, starting at age 50. In 2015, the American Cancer Society split the difference, and recommended starting at 45 annually, and then switching to every other year at 55—suggesting this would decrease the lifetime risk of dying from breast cancer from 2.7% down to under 2%, based in part on a systematic review performed by the Cochrane collaboration, a highly-respected bastion of evidence-based medicine.

    The authors of the Cochrane review, however, wrote in to say they used the wrong number, and that if you look at the studies they considered were “adequately randomized,” there did not appear to be any significant “mortality benefit” from mammograms at all, and that the “data certainly do not support the popular idea that [breast cancer] screening saves lives”—accusing the American Cancer Society of being more of “a political organization with financial ties to…the multi-billion dollar [mammogram] industry.”

    Continue at NutritionFacts: Do Mammograms Save Lives?

    Maybe you prefer to read the transcript instead of watching this video? To see the full transcript or links to cited sources go to the link above, then scroll below the video and click on View Transcript or Sources Cited. This is part four of a 14 part series. Other videos in this series are listed in the Doctor's Note below the video.

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