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Local News

Local Doctor Questions Screening Mammography


A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine says yes.

 

One of the study's authors is St Charles oncologist Dr. Archie Bleyer.

 

His research with Dr. Gilbert Welch of Dartmouth, found nearly a million women have been overdiagnosed with breast cancer over the last thirty years.

 

"Overdiagnosis is a diagnosis of something that is actually nothing.  It means it doesn't go on to become a problem in that person's lifetime.  In the case of breast cancer, that means finding  on a mammogram something that turns out not to be cancer.  And that person is treated who didn't need to be treated."

 

Dr. Bleyer admits that death from breast cancer has gone down, but credits the decline to better treatment, not increased screening.

 

He says the new guidelines that call for women to be screened at the age of 50 and then every other year until 75 seem adequate.

 

It lessens the exposure to radiation and according to their research doesn't affect the survival rate from breast cancer.

 

These guidelines do not involve women who find lumps or have symptoms.  Dr. Bleyer agrees those women should be checked out further.    These guidelines are just for women who have no symptoms.


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