Study says breast screening does more harm than good

Thursday, December 15, 2011 by: Elizabeth Walling
Tags: breast cancer, screening, surgery

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(NaturalNews) The breast cancer scare has women everywhere racing to get a mammogram in hopes that breast screening will safe their lives. But a new research report says breast screening harms as many women as it supposedly benefits. Researchers from the United Kingdom say women, who get regular mammograms, are at a high risk for false positives, meaning they will be rushed into cancer surgery for malignant cancer they don't even have.

Countless Women Subjected to Needless Breast Surgery

In 1986, breast screening was recommended for preventative care in the U.K. due to the Forrest report, which predicted screening would reduce deaths from breast cancer by one third. But criticism of breast screening has increased in recent years as research points to it being less beneficial - and possibly far more harmful - than previously thought.

James Raferty, professor of health technology assessment at the University of Southampton, led the study. He and a team of colleagues analyzed findings to determine the real results of breast screening. They found that false positives and unnecessary surgeries may make mammography more dangerous than beneficial.

Their report, published on Dec. 8 in the online version of the British Medical Journal, includes data from eight trials involving 100,000 women over the age of 50 who have had breast screening. When researchers took into account the harm of false positives and needless surgery caused by breast screening, the benefits of screening dropped to less than half what was predicted in the Forrest report.

"The meaning and implications of overdiagnosis and overtreatment need to be much better explained and communicated," researchers write in their report.

Raferty also adds, "There are lots of women around who have had surgery who (falsely) believe their lives were saved."

Health departments and cancer charities dismiss the findings and continue to insist women be subjected to annual breast cancer screening. Even though the American Cancer Society previously admitted breast screening benefits are overstated ( ), they continue to push the idea that mammograms save lives. One can only wonder how much research needs to be done before these organizations get the wake up call they so desperately need.

Sources for this article include:

About the author:
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health, nutrition and wellness. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more:

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