Review quantifies benefits, harms of mammography

January 5, 2014
Review quantifies benefits, harms of mammography
The benefits and harms of screening mammography have been quantified in a special communication published online Dec. 30 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

(HealthDay)—The benefits and harms of screening mammography have been quantified in a special communication published online Dec. 30 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

H. Gilbert Welch, M.D., M.P.H., and Honor J. Passow, Ph.D., from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in Hanover, N.H., provide a range of estimates for the absolute frequency of breast cancer deaths avoided, false alarms, and overdiagnosis associated with screening mammography. Data were used from nine and are specific to the United States.

The researchers found that, among 1,000 U.S. women aged 50 years who underwent annual screening for 10 years, 0.3 to 3.2 will avoid a death; 490 to 670 will experience one or more false alarms; and overdiagnosis and needless treatment will affect three to 14.

"We hope that these data are sufficient for some women to make the decision about whether or not to be screened," the authors conclude. "Some may choose to pursue screening, valuing any potential for benefit as warranting the accompanying harms. Others may choose not to pursue screening, valuing the plausible range for the magnitude of the harms as being too great to justify pursuing the relatively small benefit."

Explore further: Benefit of breast cancer screening more consistent across studies than previously understood

More information: Abstract
Full Text

Related Stories

Informing women on breast cancer overdiagnosis

January 24, 2013

In a study exploring women's responses to being told about overdiagnosis in breast cancer screening, most women felt the information was important and could enable them to make choices.

Recommended for you

Scientists discover gene that blocks spread of colon cancer

April 21, 2017

Researchers from RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) and the University of Nice, France, have discovered the function of a gene called KCNQ1 that is directly related to the survival of colon cancer patients. The ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.