The Natural History of Invasive Breast Cancers Detected by Screening Mammography
When most of the population is asked about “prevention” of breast cancer, mammography comes to mind. Few things get me as frustrated as this reply.
I remember volunteering at a national 3-day event. I was treating an 18 yr old walker and asked why she was walking. Her mother had passed away from breast cancer at a very young ago, so I naturally asked her what she was doing from a preventative standpoint to lower her risk. She replied “They won’t let me do anything until I’m at least 40.” It was all I could do to keep from screaming in frustration. So, we put all our eggs in the “early detection” basket and call it prevention. Well, unfortunately for this approach, there is much controversy about whether it actually does any good.
Here we see a study finding that there are significant harms, suggesting that up to 22% of the cancers found on mammography may have spontaneous remitted, leading to aggressive, damaging treatments that were never needed.