Local Doctors Question Findings in Canadian Research Study Doubting Mammograms-Meagan O'Halloran
Updated: Thursday, February 13 2014, 10:58 AM CST
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Doctors are cautiously reacting to a controversial new study
claiming mammograms are not effective at saving lives. Canadian researchers say
the breast cancer death rate is the same, whether women have a mammogram or
Not only is Brenda Farmer a nurse who helps women battling
breast cancer but she is a breast cancer survivor herself.
"They found an early classification on my mammogram. It
was something that could not be felt in a self-breast exam or by a
clinician" said Farmer. Farmer believes detecting cancer early, with the
help of a mammogram, may have saved her life.
But according to the British Medical Journal the
life-and-death statistics aren't giving mammogram testing much credit. Those
researchers claim whether women have a mammogram or not-- the breast cancer
death rate is the same.
Farmer still thinks
early detection saves lives.
"Research is important. The research that's been done
here in the U.S. is still recommending that all women starting at the age of 40
get a routine mammogram".
At TriStar Summit Medical Center, doctors follow American
Cancer Society guidelines. They use mammograms as a tool to detect breast
cancer and help catch it early. There's a problem though; doctors say all
lumps, tumors and cancers that show up on an x-ray may not be deadly. It leads
to over-diagnosis and over-treatment..
Dr. John King is a radiologist at TriStar Summit and sees
that kind of thing on a regular basis. "At this point we treat them all as
if they're life threatening".
The British Medical Journal claims the better
safe-than-sorry approach may not actually be safer but Dr. King says it's too
soon to tell if this is true.
"There have been articles out of Canada before and
they've been flawed. The design is flawed and the premise is flawed" said
King is going by the guidelines established by the American
Cancer Society. According to an article in the New York Times, Dr. Richard
Wender, chief of cancer control for the American Cancer Society is referencing
some data and statistics that dispute this
new Canadian research study. Wender said research gathered from clinical
trials of mammography showed to reduce the breast cancer death rate by 15% for
women in their 40's and by at least 20%
for older women.