Monday, October 24, 2005

The Breast Views Blog: MAMMOGRAPHY: THE HIDDEN DOWNSIDE - PART Three

The Moss Reports: False Negatives and The Mammography Paradox

MAMMOGRAPHY: THE HIDDEN DOWNSIDE - PART III

Sue Richards

2 Brilliant Observations:

Anonymous Jane said...

just read Dr. Moss' Mammography articles - Whew! Thanks for pointing the way to someone presents an alternate view so rationally and in such depth, Sue! Kinda like you...

1:30 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

These are complex issues and need to be fully evaluated in appropriate context.

A new study just published in the New England Journal of Medicine (October 27) is of interest.

Over the twentieth century breast cancer death rates (although recently eclipsed by lung cancer deaths) slowly rose and were projected to continue to do so.

Instead they actually fell, from 50/100,000 women to 38 between 1975 and 2000. That is a decrease of 12, or 24%.

A lot of things about breast cancer changed during that time period. One of these was breast cancer screening (and there is a lot more to screening than mammography). The other was treatment for early breast cancer.

As the authors point out there is little to be gained by detecting breast cancer unless you have effective treatment.

They conclude that somewhere between 28-65% (average 46%) of this 24% drop is due to screening (the range indicated the difficulty in being precise about screening), with the remainder due to improvements in treatment.

The difference in this paper is that they looked at the population as a whole not just women enrolled in clinical trials or studies.

This places a slightly more optimistic picture on the future of breast cancer. However I agree with Sue, that none of this diminishes the need for better prevention.

12:38 PM  

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