Canadian researches say mammograms don’t reduce mortality from breast cancer

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TORONTO, CANADA – Money for nothing?  There’s increased questions about the need for mammograms.  Canadians researchers with the National Breast  Screening Study followed 90 thousand women over a 25-year-period and concluded that “annual mammography in women aged 40 to 59 does not reduce mortality from breast cancer beyond that of physical examination.”

Patients were divided into two groups: one group received physical breast exams and mammograms, and the other just did physical breast exams.  The outcomes were almost identical: about the same number of people were found to have cancer; about the same number of people died from that cancer.  However, critics say the Canadian researchers used outdated screening equipment in their findings.

“The quality of the mammograms in 1980 is vastly different than the quality of the mammograms that we have available today” – explained Dr. Theresa Bevers, Medical Director of the Cancer Prevention Center at MD Anderson Cancer Center-.  “Those are film screen mammograms; we now use digital: we get much sharper mammograms.”  And then she added: ” I also disagree with the randomization of the patients, the way those two groups were formed.   More women were put into the mammogram arm with known palpable masses.”

Either way, more research is needed to find the roots and cure for breast cancer.  Without a doubt, this is a problem we have to keep abreast of.

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