Doubts on Testing for Breast Cancer



July 24, 2015

Doubts on Testing for Breast Cancer


Early studies on using mammograms to screen for breast cancer were deeply flawed, largely because they can lead to over-diagnosis.

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The Guardian carried a story by Sarah Boseley about the controversy in Europe and other countries about the effectiveness and safety of mammograms. It seems some of the early studies on the issue were deeply flawed.

The article says, “Internationally renowned cancer experts have cast fresh doubt on the benefits of breast cancer screening programs, warning that they save fewer lives than previously thought.”

Professor Julietta Patnick says, “There are potential risks as well as benefits associated with breast screening, including over-diagnosis, and it is important that women are given information that is clear and accessible before they go for a mammogram.”

She calls for women to have truly informed consent so they can decide to have a mammogram or not.

This is a controversial area. Should employers be involved in promoting this and prostate screenings? I’m not so sure.


About the Author

Tom Emerick is president of Emerick Consulting and cofounder of EdisonHealth and Thera Advisors.  Emerick’s years with Wal-Mart Stores, Burger King, British Petroleum and American Fidelity Assurance have provided him with an excellent blend of experience and contacts.

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