Researchers question benefits of mammograms - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Researchers question benefits of mammograms

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A new study questions the benefits of mammograms.

A researcher from Dartmouth and one from Oregon found nearly one-third of women with breast cancer are overdiagnosed, meaning a mammogram found a problem that did not really need treatment.

The researchers looked at the impact of mammograms on cancer diagnoses and mortality rates over the last 30 years. They found the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer has doubled. Researchers believe more than a million of those have been overdiagnoses and women have received unnecessary treatments like chemo and radiation.

"We're now recognizing in cancer detection when we look for early forms of cancer we find things that meet this pathologic definition of cancer, but never go on to bother the patient, may even disappear," said Dr. H. Gilbert Welch of the Dartmouth Institute.

The study also found the increase of early stage detection far exceeds the decrease in mortality rate. Though the mortality rate is slowly going down, they say that's due to better treatment, not early screenings. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Click here for more.

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