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Mammograms might lead to more deaths rather than less

A recent study conducted by a team of US based researchers has revealed that breast cancer screenings may not lead to fewer deaths but instead could result in over diagnosis. The researchers reported that in the areas where there were high levels of screening, more tumors were diagnosed but the mortality rate due to it was no less than other regions with fewer screenings. The lead author of the study, Charles Harding, said,” the mortality results that we observed are from definitive. The most dramatic finding of the study is the immediately evident and substantial evidence of breast cancer over diagnosis.” According to the national Cancer Institute, the number of cases of Breast cancer each year is quite high with more than 230,000 US women being newly diagnosed. Although the guidelines for the screening may vary but the US Preventive task force suggests that average-risk women should have mammograms every other year between ages 50 to 74. However, If an woman wants to get screened before the age of 50, then it’s a personal choice weather to go for it or not.

Mammograms might lead to more deaths rather than less

The study was conducted on an extensive scale involving the data recorded from nearly 547 counties. For the study, the researchers analyzed the breast cancer screenings, cancer diagnosis, tumor characteristics and breast cancer deaths in all of these counties. The data included about 16 million women living in those counties in 2000. The age of all the women under consideration was above 40.Depending on their locations, the percentage of women who had screening ranged from 39 to 78 %. The study revealed that more than 53,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. The researchers also reported that the number of breast cancer diagnoses increased with the number of screenings, but the number of deaths related to it over the next 10 years remained the same.

The researchers have warned that these results may not be the actual reality as they were limited because of the assumptions made about individuals for the data of a large group of people. In the past the importance of regular mammograms for ending breast cancer has been widely promoted by many people from a government backed panel and Angelina Jolie including other. This report comes in as a shock for all the people who had been promoting it for a long time.

The source of the Image used in this article: Wikimedia Commons

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