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Mammograms don't really work, say researchers

Friday, September 24, 2010 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: mammograms, risk, health news

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(NaturalNews) You now have another good reason to skip that next mammogram, based on new research out of Norway. According to findings by Dr. Mette Kalager and his team from Oslo University Hospital, getting a mammogram appears to cut the risk of dying from breast cancer by meager two percent at best -- a percentage that many consider to be statistically insignificant.

For the study, women between the ages of 50 and 69 who were encouraged to get mammograms and were offered quality care from a team of specialists experienced a reduction in breast cancer deaths of about ten percent. But a similar group of women over age 70 who were offered the same care but were not encouraged to get mammograms saw an eight percent reduction, indicating that mammograms are largely useless.

The findings also revealed that for every 2,500 women age 50 and older who get mammograms, only one will avoid dying from breast cancer due to the screening. Up to 1,000 of them, however, will be told that there may be a problem, resulting in 500 of them getting biopsies. In the end, 15 or so women will end up being unnecessarily treated for a disease they do not have.

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a Journal of the American Medical Association, found that mammograms actually increase women's risk of getting breast cancer. Four counties in Norway experienced increased breast cancer rates after mammography was introduced, and similar increases appeared across Europe as well.

Other studies have found that the vast majority of tumors detected by mammography are not even malignant, which often leads to costly and unnecessary interventions.

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