This Article is About
breast cancer diagnosis
national cancer institute
breast cancer screening
ductal carcinoma
breast cancer
maximum benefit
dollar business
Do Mammograms Save Lives?
Join 1000's of Authors at StreetArticles Today!

Do Mammograms Save Lives?

Women have been told for over twenty years that mammograms save lives. Most of them believe it and spend most of their adults lives scheduling mammograms, having mammograms, waiting for results and often having painful, nail-biting follow ups that usually do not reveal any cancer.

Do Mammograms Save Lives?

Breast cancer screening and treatment is a multi-billion dollar business. The mammogram machines are expensive and there is a strong profit motive to keeping them running as many hours a day as possible. And that requires screening candidates at younger and younger ages who believe that any cancer will not only be detected accurately and early but also cured and their lives spared. With the costs involved and women's lives at stake, is it true that mammograms save lives?

Dartmouth College Study: Do Mammograms Save Lives?

Researchers at Dartmouth College used the National Cancer Institute's analysis software to model the risk of breast cancer diagnosis and the death rate from these cancers. This is plenty of time to study the benefits of a woman who begins mammograms at the now recommended age of 40 as well as women aged 50, 60 and 70. They concluded a maximum benefit of 13% versus unscreened women and a benefit as low at 3%.

Their conclusion: mammograms do not save lives. They found that the subjects whose mammograms revealed breast cancer had not actually lived any longer. They were either diagnosed early or overdiagnosed with Stage 0 cancer that did not require treament.

False Readings Are Common

Moreover, false readings are common, leading to painful and maiming yet unnecessary treatment. Many more are merely ductal carcinoma in situ (D.C.I.S) known as Stage 0 breast cancer. D.C.I.S. was rarely detected before the introduction of mammograms. Now it accounts for 30-50% of all cancers found by mammograms.

Since D.C.I.S. is not invasive and may never progress to a life-threatening disease, do mammograms save lives by findind it? Researchers are questioning this and even discovering that even invasive cancers often spontaneously regress is left untreated. Treatment, however, is certain to have lasting and usually negative effects. Surgery is maiming, painful and subject to infections and other complications. Chemotherapy is whole-body poisoning. Radiation of the breast damages DNA and may cause future cancers.

In fact, all these mammograms are not without the risk of causing cancer themselves, particularly in younger women with more metabolically active tissue. Consider the risks of the mammograms, the small probability they will uncover an invasive cancer and the strong likelihood they will find a non-cancer that will lead to painful yet unnecessary treatment.

Do mammograms save lives? Probably a few but probably not yours or mine. Maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle will do much more to preventing cancer of all kinds.

Street Talk

Hi Jane, you are so right - I turned mine down and will continue to unless I find something worrying. I think salvation lies in the identification of cancer and breast cancer in particular, through genetic screening, not the old fashioned technology women are offered.

  about 9 years ago
You May Also Like
Giuliana Bill Baby To Have Starring Role - Whether He Likes It Or Not
Giuliana and Bill Rancic are two American celebrities who over 5 seasons of their reality TV show Giuliana and Bill on the Style Network have shared the ups and downs of their life. This has included their happy marriage, their struggles to conceive including a miscarriage, her 3 failed fertility…
By: BIS_Coach in  News and Society   Sep 30, 2012  
  Likes: 1

The Health Benefits Of Chlorella And Which Supplement To Buy
Chlorella is a food with many health benefits, in fact many consider it to be a Superfood. Chlorella is a single-celled algae that can serve as a complete protein source for strict vegetarians. Included in its many health benefits are detoxification, it’s richness in vitamins, minerals and carotenoids and when…
By: Lenore in  Health and Fitness  >  Supplements   Feb 18, 2014  
  Likes: 2

Genes And Cancer
Genes A gene is not enough For many years it was thought that one could find "the" cure for cancer. Then he realized that every type of cancer was a story in itself. Today, most experts believe that there is only one approach that applies to everyone, even for apparently…
By: Antonio KAtende in  Cancer   Dec 27, 2011  
  Likes: 0

Obesity And Cancer: The New Link Between the FTO Gene And Increased Breast Cancer Risk
Science has known for some time that obesity ups a person’s risk of a number of different cancers, and have been warning about that for years. But, despite all of the studies and the reports, the obesity numbers just keep climbing and unfortunately for the nation, so does the rate…
By: Jacey Figgins in  Cancer   May 24, 2011  
  Likes: 0

Food As Medicine
Today many people think that food is just fuel for our body, and forget the old saying,“you are what you eat“. We all pile tones of unhealthy food in our bodies, and are not aware of consequences such as various illnesses: heart disease,vascular disease, diabetes, cancer and many others. The…
By: Marko Mustac in  Health and Fitness  >  Foot Health   Dec 26, 2013  
  Likes: 8

Is Cancer Just A Number?
How many people do you know that have been touched by cancer? How many of you have been touched by cancer? The statistics are quite mind boggling when you look at them. As of January 2008, the National Cancer Institute estimated that there are nearly 12 million U.S. citizens living…
By: Joseph Primm in  Cancer   Mar 13, 2012  
  Likes: 2

Cancer Screenings Falling Short Of Targeted Goals In Nearly All Categories
A new federal study, undertaken by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention along with the National Cancer Institute has shown some troubling numbers when it comes to cancer screening. Focusing on three different types of common cancer, the study looked at the information from a 2010 survey which asked…
By: amie nogrady in  Cancer   Jan 31, 2012  
  Likes: 0

Tanning Beds Or Cancer
Are Tanning Beds Safer Than Natural Sun? With all the emphasis on safe sunning and the dangers of ultraviolet rays, many people have chosen to get a healthy tanning glow in what may actually be a most unhealthy way – the use of a tanning bed or tanning salon. Statistics…
By: Gary2 in  Cancer  >  Skin Cancer   Jul 18, 2011  
  Likes: 1

Coffee Enemas to Treat Cancer
In a nutshell, a coffee enema is related to the procedure wherein the coffee is inserted into the anus. Moreover, the enema procedure has also been used for many years to treat illnesses like encopresis, constipation and other medical condition. Recently, it is being promoted as the coffee enemas to…
By: Sunny Walters in  Cancer   Jun 22, 2011  
  Likes: 3

Coffee Enemas Liver Detox
Our environment contains a lot of toxins and the sad thing is that we are not fully protected from this. Hence, our body still receives toxins through drinking, eating, smoking, breathing and many more. What we need to do then is nothing but to regularly detoxify our body from these…
By: Sunny Walters in  Health and Fitness  >  Detoxification   Jun 22, 2011  
  Likes: 0

Treatments for Lung Cancer - Recommended Treatments for Lung Cancer
When you are asked which kind of cancer has killed the most people, your natural response would be to blurt out breast cancer. Wrong! Lung cancer is the grand champion, by a mile. Close to 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with lung cancer every year. One of the main causes, although…
By: John Daniel Rivera in  Cancer  >  Lung Mesothelioma Asbestos   Dec 22, 2011  
  Likes: 1

Skin Cancer Diagnoses on the Rise: Most Preventable Form Of Cancer is Often Most Overlooked
A new study by the Mayo Clinic reveals some troubling news about skin cancer and the number of people who die from it every year. That study shows a dramatic rise in the number of cases of melanoma with numbers of new cases increasing by four times for men ages…
By: amie nogrady in  Cancer  >  Skin Cancer   May 23, 2012  
  Likes: 1

Green Tea for Weight Loss
Green tea has a long history in the Asian market where the Chinese people have known the benefits from it for more than 4000 years. In the western world we have mostly used black tea but are getting more and more into the little green leaves from Asia. This wonder…
By: Thom in  Health and Fitness  >  Weight Loss   Sep 16, 2013  
  Likes: 4

Coconut Oil for Health Benefits
Much has been documented about the health benefits of coconut oil. The problem lies is in the mainstream medical establishments disagreement with these claims. Knowing the reason behind the mainstream opinion helps to understand why something that scientifically has been proven helpful would be regarded in a negative light. With…
By: Jonathan Hughes in  Health and Fitness  >  Nutrition   May 22, 2013  
  Likes: 0

Are Coffee Enemas As A Liver Flush Safe And Effective
A lot of people are actually skeptical about using coffee enemas as a liver flush treatment. Well, I cannot blame them if it is their first time to hear about the concept. Enemas are kind of a touch subject for some people, and using coffee for an enema can sound…
By: Sunny Walters in  Health and Fitness  >  Detoxification   Jun 24, 2011  
  Likes: 4

Article Views: 2761    Report this Article