Poll: Are Screening Mammograms Useless?


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?






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.

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