• Glenn Wilson
    56

    9 out of 10 women don’t realize that some breast cancers would never have caused any problems (or even become known in one’s lifetime). This is an issue ductal carcinoma in situ has brought to the fore.

    Dr. Greger: The whole point of cancer screening is to “detect life-threatening disease at an earlier, more curable stage.” So, an “[e]ffective cancer-screening program…[would] therefore…increase the incidence of cancer detected at an early stage [because you’d find all these tiny cancers you would have missed before] and [therefore] decrease the incidence of cancer presenting at a late stage”—because you would have cut out all the little cancers you found, pulling them out of circulation.

    But, that’s not what appeared to happen with mammograms. As mammography ramped up in the 80s, the first part happened: the diagnosis of early cancers shot up. And so, what we’d like to see is like a mirror image of this, going the other way, for late-stage cancers. If you caught it early, it wouldn’t be around for late. But, that didn’t happen. Late-stage cancer incidence didn’t seem to drop much at all.

    Another way to look at this is to compare mammogram rates around the country. The more mammograms you do, the more heavily screened the population is, the more early cancers you pick up. Great. And late, advanced disease should go down too, right? But, it doesn’t. We’re taking all these early cancers out of circulation—surgery, radiation; and so, there should be about the same number fewer late-stage cancers found. But, that didn’t happen. Mammograms catch a lot of small cancers, but with no concomitant decline in the detection of larger cancers. That would explain this. The more mammograms you do, the more cancer you find. But, death from breast cancer doesn’t seem to change much.

    Continue at NutritionFacts: Overtreatment of Stage 0 Breast Cancer DCIS.

    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 nine of a 14 part series. Other videos in this series are listed in the Doctor's Note below the video.

    More in the category Health and Medical.

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