More breast cancer screening does NOT reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer according to a new study.
The study looked at data from 547 U.S. counties.
Women who got screening mammograms varied from county to county from 39 percent to 78 percent.
Comparing counties where there was a 10% absolute increase in screening mammograms — for example, comparing counties where 50% of women were screened versus 40% of women were screened — there was NO decrease in breast cancer deaths.
1% MORE breast cancer deaths in counties with 10% MORE screening
The relative risk was 1.01, meaning there were 1% more breast cancer deaths where there was 10% more screening, but this difference was not statistically significant, meaning this difference could simply be due to random chance.
(It also suggests the possibility that women diagnosed with breast cancer radiation may INCREASE breast cancer deaths.)
80% more breast cancers diagnosed in the counties with the most screening, but NO decrease in breast cancer deaths
In counties with the MOST breast cancer screening versus the counties with the LEAST breast cancer screening, there were 80% more breast cancer diagnoses, (1.8 times more) but…
“We did NOT find any significant change in breast cancer deaths in this county-level analysis. This was quite surprising to me…” noted Charles Harding, lead author of the study, in an audio interview he did with the medical journal.
A one-minute audio clip from interview with the lead author, Charles Harding, is posted here.
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