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Mammograms not helpful in cutting death rates from breast cancer, says new study

Published on Feb 12, 2014 8:05 PM
 
A patient undergoing mammogram to detect early stages of breast cancer. Going for the annual mammogram may not be entirely helpful, according to a new study. -- FILE PHOTO: CHANGI GENERAL HOSPITAL

NEW YORK: Going for the annual mammogram may not be entirely helpful, according to a new study.

The study, published on Tuesday in The British Medical Journal, found that death rates from breast cancer and from all causes were the same in women who got mammograms and those who did not.

In fact, there may be drawbacks linked to regular screening. One out of five cancers found with mammography and treated was not a threat to the woman’s health and did not need treatment like chemotherapy, surgery or radiation, the New York Times reported, citing the findings. The study, which involved 90,000 women in Canada over a period of 25 years, was one of the largest and most meticulous studies of mammography ever done. It randomly assigned Canadian women to have regular mammograms and breast examinations by trained nurses or to have breast exams alone.

The new study came amid a growing debate between those who believe that regular mammography saves lives, and researchers who say the evidence is lacking.


Click on image above to find out the pros and cons of breast screening.

 
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