The Washington Independent speaks about the ongoing health reform debate in Congress and outlines in particular the arguments made against Mammograms by several specialists in the Journal of the American Medical Association. According to the writers the arguments against Mammograms are manifold:
- Screening is not simply about benefit, it also causes important harms.
- In the case of routine mammograms, the benefits for women in their 40s are minimal. Without screenings, 3.5 of 1,000 40-somethings will die from breast cancer and with screenings, 3 of 1,000 will succumb to the disease; i.e. screening doesn’t alter outcome.
- The dangers posed by false positives are devastating.
- Sometimes the cancers detected don’t need treatment because they are not threatening, but will expose women to the harms associated with surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation — as well as the constant fear of recurrence.