Mammograms Save Few Lives, Treatment Harms Many

October 25, 2011 7:40 am 3 comments

As goes PSA testing for prostate cancer, so goes mammography for breast cancer. A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that the great majority women who find breast cancer as a result of regular screening have not had their lives saved by the test. But, as Tara Parker-Pope reports in the New York Times Well column, many have had their lives diminished by unnecessary treatment. Two Dartmouth researchers, Dr. H. Gilbert Welch and Brittney A. Frankel, estimated a woman’s 10-year risk of developing breast cancer and her 20-year risk of death, factoring in the added value of early detection based on data from various mammography screening trials as well as the benefits of improvements in treatment. Among the 60 percent of women with breast cancer who detected the disease by screening, only about 3 percent to 13 percent of them were actually helped by the test. It’s true: the researchers believe that of the 138,000 women found to have breast cancer each year as a result of mammography screening, 120,000 to 134,000 are not helped by the test. That’s because of the truly deadly cancers that are caught by screening, only a small fraction are caught at the moment when treatment can help. Parker-Pope reports that clinical trial data suggests that 1 woman per 1,000 healthy women screened over 10 years falls into this category, although experts say that number is probably even smaller today because of advances in breast cancer treatments. Read more in the New York Times.

3 Comments

  • Not quite sure where the hell they came up with this. Having a Mammogram have saved my wife’s life on two occasions!!!

    • Trent R. Royer

      It’s called statistical data, and the information has been available for a decade now. Your wife may have been diagnosed with cancer after a screening, but it is highly, highly unlikely that her life was saved as a result of it. Women have been brainwashed into believing mammograms are the be all and end all, when in reality, they do more harm overall than good. Men didn’t protest when PSA screening was appropriately halted and it is important for women to educate themselves about what they are really getting themselves into when they agree to asymptomatic cancer screenings.

  • Let me guess another study by the government! So this is what universal helth care is all about?

Leave a Reply


Recent Posts

  • Pain Sex FDA Wants A Closer Look At Testosterone Risks

    FDA Wants A Closer Look At Testosterone Risks

    Testosterone replacement therapy may make older men feel younger, but according to some studies, it can also push them closer to the grave. The Wall Street Journal reports on a 2013 study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, that found a 30 percent increased risk of death, heart attack and stroke among men taking testosterone, compared with other men. That study and others like it, plus a 65 percent increase in sales of such products between 2009 […]

    Read more →
  • Eating Well Pain Artificial Sweeteners May Pose Real Threat To Glucose Levels

    Artificial Sweeteners May Pose Real Threat To Glucose Levels

    Artificial sweeteners, used to avoid the health risks of real sugar, turn out to have their own problems. The New York Times reports that the sweeteners have been found to “disrupt the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, causing metabolic changes that can be a precursor to diabetes.” The research, conducted at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, suggests that the sweeteners alter bacteria in the digestive system such that it changes the metabolism of glucose, causing levels to rise higher […]

    Read more →
  • Fitness Pain Q: How Many Viruses Does A Healthy Person Harbor? A: Five

    Q: How Many Viruses Does A Healthy Person Harbor? A: Five

    Congratulations, you’re healthy. Your family thanks you. So do the several viruses that reside happily in your body. After all, for most viruses, healthy bodies make such comfortable homes. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis are persuaded that healthy people carry an average of five types of viruses on their body, all without any physical symptoms that might tip off the owner of the body. A Wash U news release reports that when researchers looked for viruses in 102 healthy […]

    Read more →
  • Pain Sex Male Pattern Baldness Linked To Aggressive Prostate Cancer

    Male Pattern Baldness Linked To Aggressive Prostate Cancer

    Before you order up a PSA test, consider this: male pattern baldness affects about 70 percent of men at some point in their lives. And now the possibly disturbing news: in a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, male pattern baldness has been associated with aggressive prostate cancer. So, does that mean men with male pattern baldness face a higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer? Not necessarily. Let’s look at the numbers. Science Daily reports that from 1993 […]

    Read more →
  • Eating Well Pain Watching, Yes Just Watching Football Can Be Bad For Your Health

    Watching, Yes Just Watching Football Can Be Bad For Your Health

    Perhaps the strangest thing about the warning that just watching football can be bad for your health is its origin: the University of Alabama, home of the Crimson Tide, and a place where watching football is basically a required course. But it’s true. The university has issued a news release advising sports fans everywhere that “the excitement of football, and even the activities and feelings of anticipation leading up to games, can be unhealthy in ways many do not realize.” […]

    Read more →
  • Gear Pain Women's Health Polyester Stinks, Especially After Exercise

    Polyester Stinks, Especially After Exercise

    Bacteria were never known for their taste in sportswear, so it’s not surprising that, yes, they much prefer polyester to cotton. A news release from the American Society of Microbiology reports on a recent study at Ghent University that examined clothing from 26 healthy people who had done an intense one-hour spinning session. The researchers incubated the athletes’ shirts for 28 hours, then had them inspected by “a trained odor panel.” OK. They also took a look at the amount […]

    Read more →
  • Uncategorized How To Drink Less: Pour Less

    How To Drink Less: Pour Less

    Researchers at Iowa State University and Cornell recently combined resources for a study that revealed that people who pour less wine drink less wine. It’s true. An Iowa State news release reports that the researchers asked 74 college students and staff to pour wine in a variety of settings so that they could control for the size, shape and color of the glass, as well as if wine is poured with a meal. They poured both red and white wine […]

    Read more →
  • Fitness Pain For Boomers, Meniscus Repair No Better Than No Repair

    For Boomers, Meniscus Repair No Better Than No Repair

    Looking for the best surgeon to repair a torn meniscus? Four million people do that every year. Yet now comes research from McMaster University that suggests they should stop looking and start physical therapy. A McMaster news release reports that researchers at the school reviewed seven studies involving 805 patients (average age 56) that looked at the success of surgical repairs of partial meniscus tears. What did they find? The envelope please…four of the studies found no short-term pain relief in the […]

    Read more →