New mammogram study causes stir - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

New mammogram study causes stir

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A provocative new study in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, says getting a mammogram especially in women younger than 40 may not increase survival rates as much as it does in older women over 60. The findings are causing a stir in the medical community and among cancer survivors.

"There is clearly evidence that there's a benefit to mammography screening but that benefit is relatively modest and it's smaller for younger women than it is for older women and women with more risk factors," said Dr. Nancy Keating, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and one of researchers. "As we increase the number and the frequency of mammography screening women are more likely to have more false positives and unnecessary biopsies. The other chief harm is something called over diagnosis and over diagnosis is when you diagnose a breast cancer that never would have become clinically evident within a woman's lifetime."

Dr. Stephani Bernik, a breast surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital, warned women to be careful of about reacting to quickly to this study's findings. She said treating and preventing breast is cancer complicated.

"This study is looking at only survival -- it's really not looking at what it takes to get to the point where a patient survives," Bernik said. "We are screening patients later and finding a tumor when it's larger potentially that woman can only do mastectomy she may not be able to do breast conservation and her treatment may have to be more aggressive get her to survive."

She is advising women to consult their own doctor when it comes to taking care their health.

The American Cancer Society continues to recommend that women age 40 and older have annual mammograms. And women with a history of breast cancer in their family are told to start mammograms even earlier.

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