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The Myths of Mammography

The BMJ is one of the most widely circulated medical journals on the planet. I was quite surprised to see their posting of a major article that was so highly critical of mammography. If you are on the fence on mammography you will certainly want to review this full-text article.

Five common misconceptions about screening

* Screening tests are meant for patients with known symptoms

* Screening reduces the incidence of breast cancer

* Early detection implies reduced mortality

* All breast cancers progress

* Early detection is always a benefit

The media is very effective at convincing us that mammograms are necessary. Last year I posted an article stating that over 96 percent of women believed that they should have a mammogram before the age of 50.

Although mammography does lead to the discovery of smaller, earlier stage tumors, it still does not improve breast cancer survival rates over examination alone. Adding an annual mammogram to a careful physical examination of the breasts does not improve breast cancer survival rates over getting the examination alone

Even the experts are stating that mammograms are not all that they are cracked up to be

British Medical Journal July 12, 2003

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