Komen for the Cure caught lying about benefits of mammograms, says BMJ

Monday, August 20, 2012 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: Komen for the Cure, mammograms, lying

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(NaturalNews) The wild claims constantly being made by the breast cancer group Susan G. Komen for the Cure about the supposed benefits of mammogram screenings are patently deceptive and untrue. This is according to two distinguished professors who published a fascinating new review in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that questions the legitimacy of breast cancer screenings in light of actual science.

A massive Komen advertising campaign that suggests mammograms help drastically save women's lives has been of particular interest to Steven Woloshin and Lisa Schwartz, co-authors of the study, both from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. Komen claims that mammograms drastically decrease women's risk of dying from breast cancer, and suggests that without mammograms, millions of women will die -- but Woloshin and Schwartz say this is false advertising.

"The ad implies that mammograms have a huge effect, but the only evidence that they use (to back this) is the five-year survival rate for breast cancer when caught early, (which) is 98 percent, and when it's not, 23 percent," says Woloshin. "The problem is that in the context of screening survival, statistics are meaningless. To make an informed decision, you not only have to know the benefits, you have to know the harm. And the ad does not say anything about harm, it just gives you this exaggerated benefit statistic."

You can view an image of the deceptive Komen ad, which was published by BMJ, here:

Mammograms help practically nobody, but injure many

When you really take an honest look at the data, it is clear that mammography is negligibly effective at reducing deaths from breast cancer, at best. The general, 10-year risk of a woman dying from breast cancer is about 0.53 percent, while the risk for a woman who gets mammograms is 0.46 percent. Mammograms, in other words, reduce this already low risk by a mere 0.07 percent, which could represent nothing more than a statistical margin of error.

Put another way, 53 women out of 10,000 will die from breast cancer in the next 10 years, and mammograms may potentially lower this number to 46 women out of 10,000. But in the meantime, as many as 50 percent of all the women receiving mammograms to detect such cancers will have at least one false positive, which will in turn result in needless biopsies, surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.

Any potential benefit in terms of death reduction from breast cancer is essentially offset by the fact that regular mammography screenings are also linked to actually causing breast cancer. A study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) found that young, high-risk women who are screened using mammography are up to 250 percent more likely develop breast cancer as a result of the screening compared to those who are not screened. (

So when taken in the proper context, the data clearly shows that mammograms are essentially useless at lowering the risk of death from breast cancer, no matter how you look at it. Women are better off not being screened at all, in other words, unless they choose non-radioactive. thermography as a safe alternative (

"There is no correlation between changes in survival and changes in how many people die (as a result of getting mammograms)," adds Woloshin. "[S]creening can find cancers that were never destined to cause harm because they grow slowly or can go away on their own. It would never have harmed you, you would never have known about it and you would have lived your whole life and died from something else. (But) these people get treated, they get radiation, chemotherapy, surgery and it's all unnecessary."

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