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Do Mammograms Save Lives? ‘Hardly,’ a New Study Finds


Mammograms Save No Lives, Study Finds | TIME.com

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A study of mammograms spanning 25 years and thousands of patients has come to a startling conclusion: mammograms appear to be useless, at best.

Researchers tracked more than 89,835 Canadian women, half of whom were randomly assigned to mammogram screenings. The other half had no mammograms and performed breast exams on themselves.

Twenty-five years later, the researchers found an identical rate of breast-cancer deaths in both groups. The mammograms’ only discernible impact was to elevate the diagnosis rate by 22%, or “overdiagnose” patients who were suffering from nonlethal forms of cancer and therefore could have avoided surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

That's fascinating AND against conventional wisdom. Wow.

If this holds up to all criticism, think of all the money and peoples time wasted on this, it would go down in history as one of the biggest stupidest plans we ever implemented.

I guess it's a reminder to question conventional wisdom?

Are there any other lessons we can take from this?

Yes think about colonoscopies before you say sure, I had a birthday why not probe my insides with pointy instruments. 

Screenings based on calendars are bad policy. 

So only do screenings based on symptoms?

Screenings based on symptoms, risk factors, blood tests, patient desire, ......professional judgement.  

My old clinic was part of gastroenterology.  There were complications and even death.  

There is a reason medical professionals use less medicine. We have experience of the risk of over testing and over treatment. We also know that we always downplay risk and exaggerate efficacy. 

ALWAYS!!

Those are good rules of thumb. Thank you.

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