Mammogram Debate

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Story Updated: Apr 3, 2014

The benefits of mammography may be overestimated, while the harms may be underestimated according to a broad new review of 50 year's worth of research.

After analyzing dozens of studies dating back as far as 1960 the investigating team noted that annual mammography screenings do lower the breast cancer death rate by about 15% among women in their 40's and by about 32% among women in their 60's.

Yet the team also found that during a 10-year screening period more than 60% of women in their 40's and 50's ended up falsely diagnosed with a cancer they didn't actually have.

What's more, roughly 19% of cancers turned out to be slow growing and better left undiagnosed so as to spare women pointless exposure to additional tests and treatments, according to the researchers.

The study authors concluded that doctors should draft personal approaches to mammography screening based on each patient's particular risk.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the news doctors are reading health news that matters to you.

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