Mammograms Increase Diagnoses. They Do Not Save Lives

Thu, 11/29/2012 - 15:38
Submitted by Jessica Kramer

I just read an article in the NY Times blog that lays out the latest research - published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine. The research shows that, "mammograms increased diagnoses and surgeries, but didn’t save lives". This is really important!

Mammograms increase diagnoses, but they do not save lives.

Mammograms have become standard care for women based on the understanding that early detection is key to preventing death from breast cancer. Instead the result is more radiation, more fear, more anxiety, more intervention and more medication for women without benefit. As the article states, "More bluntly, the trial results threatened a mammogram economy, a marketplace sustained by invasive therapies to vanquish microscopic clumps of questionable threat, and by an endless parade of procedures and pictures to investigate the falsely positive results that more than half of women endure."

So are mammograms benefiting women, or a dysfunctional health care system?

And more importantly, why is this newly published research not all over the news? Why am I reading this in a NY Times BLOG rather than the front page of the actual newspaper? Or at least the front page of the science section?

This is exactly what is happening in pregnancy and childbirth, as well. When it comes to breasts, breast cancer, pregnancy and childbirth, women have been instilled with the belief that our own bodies are to be feared. That we need extensive testing, invasive procedures, technology and all-powerful doctors to save us from our own bodies. In fact, the research on both breast health and pregnancy and childbirth health, repeatedly illustrate that our bodies, our knowledge of our own bodies, and in my opinion, quality relationships including open communication with our care providers is what leads us to best health.

Note: For those interested in safe, comfortable, and non-invasive approaches to breast health screening, they should check out thermography scans. Digital photographs of the heat patterns of the whole chest area. These photographs are completely safe, free of radiation and, when done annually, detect changes in breast tissue.

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Incredibly interesting.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 07:36

Incredibly interesting. Thanks for posting the link. I've spent some time now reading up on this and it's really disheartening to (once again) realize the impacts that a patriarchal and capiatlist society has on women's health.

Another eye opening post from Jessica.

Betty Dodson's picture
Sat, 12/01/2012 - 13:06

"Mammograms increase diagnoses, but they do not save lives" says it all. I had my first AND LAST mammogram when I was in my mid-sixties. After having my poor little titty squashed between two metal plates knowing the other one would be next completly cured me of this primitive form of what they called "prventive medicine." When I let out a stream of four letter words, the female techician assured me that I was doing the right thing. Yeah, if you consider the amount of money that goes into our fairly usless medical system it's the "right thing" for taking money from what I call "Doctor Junkies." Cancer is multi-gazillion dollar business. Refined white sugar feeds cancer among all other processed foods that are systematically keeping Americans sick. Organic live food is my medicine. 

Thermography could have the

Thu, 01/30/2014 - 00:10
Doc (not verified)

Thermography could have the same issue with overdiagnosis.  It's not the radiation in mammography that's causing extra cases to be detected.  

http://www.cochrane.dk/screening/mammography-leaflet.pdf

Screening mammography does save lives but it detects extra cancers unnecessarily much more often.  For example,  between 40-50 years of age over 10 years of screening mammography will save 1 woman per 2000 screened.  But it will detect 10 extra cancers.  When we detect cancers that are never destined to cause symptoms,  it's called an overdianosis.  These 10 women will have surgery, chemo and radiation for a cancer never destined to cause symptoms or threaten life.  They will think they were cured via early detection but in reality they were harmed via overdiagnosis.  We have the same problem with PSA screening with prostate cancer and with CT scanning in lung cancer.  

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