Screening Mammography Study Addresses Risk of Overdiagnosis

July 24, 2015 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​A new study of screening mammography raises concerns about the risk of overdiagnosis, and subsequent overtreatment, from the screening procedure. The study, published online July 6, 2015, in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that the number of breast cancer diagnoses rose with increased screening but that the overall incidence of deaths from breast cancer remained the same. The study compared mammography rates of more than 53,000 women age 40 or older from 547 U.S. counties who were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000 with deaths from breast cancer over a 10-year follow-up period. The researchers performed county-by-county comparisons of mammography screening, breast cancer incidence, and breast cancer death rates for the 10-year period. They found that as breast cancer screening increased, so too did the detection of breast cancer, particularly of small breast cancers, with no significant change, however, in breast cancer deaths.

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