New Study Shows Mammograms Much Less Useful than Previously Believed

A new study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that increased awareness and improved treatments rather than mammograms are the main force in reducing the breast cancer death rate. The study, medical experts say, is the first to assess the benefit of mammography in the context of the modern era of breast cancer treatment.

While it is unlikely to settle the debate over mammograms — and experts continue to disagree about the value of the test — it indicates that improved treatments with hormonal therapy and other targeted drugs may have, in a way, washed out most of mammography’s benefits by making it less important to find cancers when they are too small to feel.

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