Saturday, December 1, 2012

Over one million U.S. women treated needlessly for breast cancer in the past 30 years

Routine mammograms have made over a million women in the United States are treated unnecessarily for breast cancer in the past 30 years, although tumors would never have reached an advanced stage, according to a new U.S. study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), according to AFP.

Study results again put into question the effectiveness of recommended medical examination, but this is already the subject of controversy.

"We concluded that mammography detected tumors would not ever be developed to cause clinical symptoms for the 1.3 million women in the last thirty years," concluded the authors, Gilbert Welch, from faculty Dartmouth Medicine (New Hampshire, north-east) and Archie Bleyer at the University of Oregon (north-west).

Among treatments followed by women are often difficult medical interventions - surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy - preferably to be avoided if not essential, they said.

Researchers analyzed epidemiological data to determine the frequency of mammary tumors detected early and advanced cancers diagnosed in women over 40 years from 1976 to 2008.

After systematic use of mammography in the United States, the number of cancers detected early has doubled, but the rate of women diagnosed with advanced cancer decreased by only 8%.

According to researchers, mammograms are not allowed so effectively detect cancers in advanced form, but have led in parallel to excessive diagnoses - 31% in 2008, or 70,000 women. They also reached the conclusion that a significant decrease in breast cancer mortality is mainly due to more effective treatments rather than early detection of tumors with mammography.

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