Ignoring the Science on Mammograms – NYTimes.com

Another piece on the science and evidence on screening (not just mammograms), and the difficulty of change. Quote:

….But the trial results were unpopular and did not fit with a broadly accepted ideology—early detection—which has, ironically, failed (ovarian, prostate cancer) as often as it has succeeded (cervical cancer, perhaps colon cancer).

More bluntly, the trial results threatened a mammogram economy, a marketplace sustained by invasive therapies to vanquish microscopic clumps of questionable threat, and by an endless parade of procedures and pictures to investigate the falsely positive results that more than half of women endure. And inexplicably, since the publication of these trial results challenging the value of screening mammograms, hundreds of millions of public dollars have been dedicated to ensuring mammogram access, and the test has become a war cry for cancer advocacy. Why? Because experience deludes: radiologists diagnose, surgeons cut, pathologists examine, oncologists treat, and women survive.

Medical authorities, physician and patient groups, and ‘experts’ everywhere ignore science, and instead repeat history. Wishful conviction over scientific rigor; delusion over truth; form over substance.

Ignoring the Science on Mammograms – NYTimes.com.

And an update on some initiatives by NCI to improve screening targeting:

Building a Better Cancer Screening Process

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2 thoughts on “Ignoring the Science on Mammograms – NYTimes.com

  1. Very very interesting article. Since my breast cancer diagnosis I’ve had people tell me I should have been getting regular mammograms. The “should haves”are a bit hard for me to swallow. . There is no history of breast cancer in my family, I was 46 when the cancer was found and there was no obvious reason for me to be getting them on a regular basis.

    • ‘Should have’ is I term I personally find less than helpful. Hindsight is easy, and one has to do use the best evidence available, not just do tests on the chance that something will turn up. And one can’t reinvent the past, even if one sometimes wonder about it. And the issues around screening and tests are going to increase as medical technology improves, even if outcomes don’t necessarily.

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