Mammogram Study: 1.3M Women 'Overdiagnosed'
But proponents of the tests call findings 'malicious nonsense'
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2012 7:04 PM CST
A radiologist uses a magnifying glass to check mammograms for breast cancer in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

(Newser) – Add this to the ever-going debate over mammograms: A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine says 1.3 million women have been incorrectly diagnosed—or "overdiagnosed"—with breast cancer over the past 30 years because of them, reports the Los Angeles Times. That means about 70,000 women a year undergo unnecessary treatment, say the researchers, who assert that about one-third of all tumors discovered in mammograms will never result in cancer.

The findings will do little to settle the issue, based on the early reaction from proponents of the tests, notes the Washington Post. Two competing quotes:

  • "Our study raises serious questions about the value of screening mammography," says Dr. H. Gilbert Welch of Dartmouth. "It clarifies that the benefit of mortality reduction reduction is probably smaller, and the harm of overdiagnosis probably larger, than has been previously recognized."
  • "This is simply malicious nonsense," said Dr. Daniel Kopans of Boston's Mass General. "It is time to stop blaming mammography screening for 'overdiagnosis' and 'overtreatment' in an effort to deny women access to screening."

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Showing 3 of 5 comments
Nov 23, 2012 7:03 PM CST
I bet if men were getting their dicks squeezed between two metal plates, they'd come up with a new idea real quick, and the results would be better deciphered.
Nov 21, 2012 8:15 PM CST
Get the test if you are a woman. A false positive is somewhat easier to deal with than a undiagnosed positive.
Nov 21, 2012 7:21 PM CST
Doctor like to feel too much, he over-diagnose. Yeah.