Poll: Are Screening Mammograms Useless?

December 5, 2012

A number of studies conclude that breast cancer screening has little to no effect on mortality. Is it time to scrap the practice?

A study published last month in the New England Journal of Medicine once again called in to question the utility of screening mammograms. Although this study was an observational one, a number of randomized trials have been done in countries including Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands, as well as a systematic review of the data, all of which conclude that population-based breast cancer screening has little to no effect on mortality.

In a New York Times article, David H. Newman, MD, asserts that “doctors and patients continue to ignore the science on mammograms.” Do you agree?

 

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References:

1. Bleyer, A., Welch, H. Gilbert. Effect of Three Decades of Screening Mammography on Breast-Cancer Incidence. N Engl J Med 2012; 367:1998-2005.
2. Jørgensen, K. J., Brodersen, J. and Gøtzsche, P. C. (2012), Thirteen years of breast screening had no measurable effect on breast cancer mortality in Norway. Int. J. Cancer. doi: 10.1002/ijc.27808.
3. Autier, P., Kochlin, A., Smans, M., Vatten, L., Boniol, M. Mammography Screening and Breast Cancer Mortality in Sweden. JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst (2012) 104 (14): 1080-1093. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djs272.
4. Bonneux, LG., Autier, P. [Population-based breast cancer screening is not worthwhile. Screening has little effect on mortality]. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2011;155(35):A3774.
5. Gotzsche, Peter C. Relation between breast cancer mortality and screening effectiveness: systematic review of the mammography trials. Dan Med Bul 2011;58(3):A4246.