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posted by Dopefish on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the breast-cancer-awareness dept.

Papas Fritas writes:

"In the United States, about 37 million mammograms are performed annually at a cost of about $100 per mammogram and nearly three-quarters of women age 40 and over say they had a mammogram in the past year. Now the NYT reports that a study involving 90,000 women and lasting a quarter-century has added powerful new doubts about the value of the screening test for women of any age finding that the death rates from breast cancer and from all causes were the same in women who got mammograms and those who did not.

'It will make women uncomfortable, and they should be uncomfortable,' says screening expert Dr. Russell P. Harris who was not involved in the study. 'The decision to have a mammogram should not be a slam dunk.' An editorial accompanying the new study says that earlier studies that found mammograms helped women were done before the routine use of drugs like tamoxifen that sharply reduced the breast cancer death rate. In addition, many previous studies did not use the gold-standard methods of the clinical trial, randomly assigning women to be screened or not, noted the editorial's author, Dr. Mette Kalager. According to Kalager, with better treatments, like tamoxifen, it is less important to find cancers early.

Also, she says, women in the study were aware of breast cancer and its dangers, unlike women in earlier studies who were more likely to ignore lumps. 'As time goes by we do indeed need more efficient mechanisms to reconsider priorities and recommendations for mammography screening and other medical interventions,' concludes Kalager. 'This is not an easy task, because governments, research funders, scientists, and medical practitioners may have vested interests in continuing activities that are well established.'"

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  • (Score: 0) by mendax on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:00AM

    by mendax (2840) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:00AM (#6353)
    This really is not exactly new news. I seem to recall hearing an NPR broadcast a couple months ago that said essentially the same thing: the screenings are not all that reliable.
    It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
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  • (Score: 1) by mendax on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:02AM

    by mendax (2840) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:02AM (#6354)

    And it seems I've come across a bit of a bug in the ancient version of Slashcode this forum is using!

    It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
    • (Score: 1) by chromas on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:06AM

      by chromas (34) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:06AM (#6522) Journal

      Did you report it?

      There's a bug tracker [] but it requires an account, so if you don't feel like messing with that then just post it in a comment (here's fine) and we'll add it for you. If it's about Unicode, the devs already know ☺

  • (Score: 1) by glyph on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:22AM

    by glyph (245) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:22AM (#6498)

    This is different news though. That is, even assuming 100% reliability the screening and early detection is not measurably beneficial in the ultimate outcome of treatment.