MAMMOGRAPHY AND MASTECTOMY
MAMMOGRAMS MAY ACTUALLY INCREASE THE NUMBER OF MASTECTOMIES, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Mammograms are supposed to find early breast cancers, so breast conserving measures can be used for treatment. Yet a large Scandinavian study has found they actually increased the number of mastectomies, where the breasts are removed. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, explains.
NELSON: They looked at the consequences of implementing mammography based screening and what they found, to their surprise, were that mastectomies, the more aggressive surgery, were somewhat more common, about 9% more per year after they started the screening program. This surprised them, they thought that they might less mastectomies and perhaps more conservative kind of treatments but they did not. I'm not sure why they got this result, actually, I think they provide it in the medical literature so people can talk about it and think about it. This is a puzzling one, it's one we really have to think about. :32
Nelson says this issue requires more complex analysis as well as additional research. At Johns Hopkins, I'm Elizabeth Tracey.