Mammograms are supposed to save lives and sometimes they can. Unfortunately, more often than not, it is being shown that the test itself cannot differentiate between certain tumors or growths and a normal process of aging.
Just the word cancer makes people crazy to begin with, especially if it is suggested that you have the disease. Some tumors are slow growing and left alone, are not harmful however, when you do a biopsy or break them open, something that was not harmful may be.
Conversely, other growths are just that, growths of tissue that are benign and a normal variant, but in a Mammogram, it raises concerns. This is likely one of the reasons that it is suggested that the test be done less frequently. Also, the effect of ionizing radiation in the tissue itself may actually be a problem as well.
USA Today recently reported that the test itself has been responsible for too many people getting unnecessary treatment. One can argue that this is prevention, but not when the benefits do not outweigh the risks. Check this out
Mammograms lead to unneeded treatment for some breast cancers
Liz Szabo, Kaiser Health News Published 5:27 p.m. ET Jan. 9, 2017 | Updated 6:53 p.m. ET Jan. 9, 2017
One in three women with breast cancer detected by a mammogram are treated unnecessarily, according to a Danish study published Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine, which has renewed debate over the value of early detection.
The women didn’t need treatment, researchers write, because they had tumors so slow-growing that they’re essentially harmless.
The study raises the uncomfortable possibility that some women who believe their lives were saved by mammograms were actually harmed by cancer screenings that led to surgery, radiation and even chemotherapy that they didn’t need, said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, who wrote an accompanying editorial but was not involved in the study.